Today, we check out Nova #24, Dark Avengers #4, Dark Reign: The Cabal #1, War Machine #5, Deadpool #9, Thunderbolts 131, Ms. Marvel #38, and Blast to the Past with The Amazing Spider-Man #27. Enjoy and spread the word!
As always, you can easily check up on past articles of Super Reads. If you're reading this on The Outhouse, you'll see a link titled "Super Reads" under the "Features" button on the top of the page. Click on it and you can check out what happened in every issue dealing with Secret Invasion, Dark Reign, and War of Kings (because I obviously have an addiction). If my directions are confusing, click here to catch up or remember back on all 48 previous articles. It's perfect for all your reading needs.
And now, let's see what the Nova Centurions are up to.
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artist: Andrea DiVito
The Nova Corps have entered the war and they've chosen to side with the Kree since the Shi'ar are the obvious aggressors. The Corps have started with a police action in the Gulf of Sarenta on the planet Nil-Rast in Kree Territory. For some Centurions, this is their first time in the field and no amount of behavior modification can change the fact that they are scared.
Take Suki Yumiko, for instance. Robbie Ryder has taken a personal interest in watching the battle through her eyes. Robbie's been given desk duty and isn't very happy about that. He wants to be the hero desperately and being sidelined doesn't sit well with him. Still, he's able to calm down Yumiko as she flies into the combat zone with her fellow Nova Centurions.
Now, it's not Robbie's job to talk Suki through this engagement but he senses that she needs some extra help and leaves the channel open for her if she needs him. She'll need that extra support because she's just not used to bodies exploding around her. Suki Yumiko is part of Cohort 86 and is being personally led into the assault by Nova Prime Tarcel. She's still in panic mode after Centurion Lucas Maats blows up right next to her when she lands under heavy fire from Shi'ar troops. Nova Prime Tarcel destroys those firing on her and then leads Cohort 86 into a strike run on a nearby processor Eight-Alpha.
Robbie's beginning to realize just how inexperienced these Centurions are. They need to be given very specific instructions and are all brand new to the Nova Corps. They have no experience and little training. Amateurs all around.
During the assault on Processor Eight-Alpha, Centurion Yumiko kills her first Shi'ar when Nova Prime Tarcel leaves his rear unguarded. She gets thanks for the save but is in shock once more for her first kill. That's not the case for the video game playing Centurion Atwater. He plays video games like Halo 3 and that makes him a killer. Right? Oh, he's happy to be able to kill just like in his video games. Tarcel tries to comfort Yumiko by telling her about how dishonorable these Shi'ar are. That's interesting because Tarcel happens to be Shi'ar.
He's a follower of Lilandra, though, and sees Emperor Vulcan as an usurper to the throne of the Shi'ar. Yumiko, being from earth, has no idea who Tarcel is talking about. Still, there's no time to discuss politics on the battleground. The Centurions are up in the air again to take out other sections of the planet. It looks like the Nova Corps are winning. The Shi'ar are starting to bug out but there's no organization in their retreat. The battle, unfortunately, is about to take another turn.
The Imperial Guard are about to enter it.
Elsewhere, Richard Ryder is getting used to his new powers as Quasar.
He's also got a brand new co-pilot: Wendell Vaugn. In that sense, it's just like old times. You know, when Ryder was Nova Prime and had the Worldmind giving him direction in his head. Ryder had twenty-four hours to live but, thanks to Wendell Vaugn, he has a new lease on life as Quasar. Without the quantum bands, Ryder's as good as dead.
He's still very interested in what's going down with the Nova Corps and, to that end has tracked "Nu-Xandar" to the Zaros System. Nu-Xandar is actually Ego the Living Planet but co-opted by the Worldmind. It's also not hanging out on Nil-Rast with it's attack force. It's gone recruiting on Zaros Three. Right now, there are a LOT of Nova Centurions being recruited. There's a lot of casualties in this war.
There isn't a way to sneak up on Ego the Living Planet, so Rich uses his quantum bands to create a hell of a lot of images of himself flying towards the home of the Nova Corps.
On Nil-Rast, the Imperial Guard are mopping up. Gladiator is simply flying through his opponents. He'll have a slightly harder time taking down Nova Prime but, in the end, you can't beat Gladiator with a physical assault. Centurion Yumiko tries to defend her commander but is quickly taken out of the battle. In the end, Nova Prime Tarcel is forced to surrender to the Imperial Guard.
The Centurions are gathered up. Strontian (the female version of Gladiator last seen in X-Men Kingbreaker #4) shows up with her Praetorians to take over and tells Gladiator that he is wanted on Vulcan's flagship. It seems Lilandra will be presented to Vulcan shortly and that Gladiator will be needed for the presentation (that places this issue between issue 1 and 2 of War of Kings). Gladiator takes his leave but brings Tarcel with him.
With Gladiator gone, Strontian isn't taking any prisoners. Cohort 86 is annihilated.
Rich Ryder is heading directly for Ego's brain while his yellow constructs distract the Living Planet. When he gets there, he learns that the Worldmind has been infected by Ego. Or something to that effect. The Worldmind was supposed to co-opt Ego's mind but his face appears here with Ego's features. Before explaining what's gone on, Worldmind blasts Ryder with his eyes.
Dark Avengers #4
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mike Deodato Jr.
OK. Time Travel. Morgana Le Fey. Dr. Doom. More time travel. Dark Avengers versus orcs and dragons. Morgana Le Fey learning from her future defeats by gazing into her time cauldron. Time Cubes. Iron Patriot and Dr. Doom confronting Morgana Le Fey Prime in the past. And... go.
In the present, the Dark Avengers are fighting the demon hordes of Morgana Le Fey. They're also fighting Venom since Morgana already took him over. Hawkeye takes this personally and tells the controlled Venom that he WILL kill him. Hawkeye is just the dude to do it, too. Sentry is still gone. Ares is stoned (turned to stone, hippies). Morgana Le Fey has been killed twice so far only to return with a vengeance.
She's currently riding a dragon. Ms. Marvel is the next to kill her, thanks to her ability to become intangible at just the right moments and then giving Morgana an energy blast to the face. Now, they just need to hope that Norman and Victor are doing something important in the past.
In the past, Morgana Le Fey is trying to convince Osborn that helping Doom is crazy. Doom will just do exactly what he does every other time he's involved in a team-up. Betray the hell out of you. It's what he does. Who teams up with Doom and expects to come out ahead in the end? Crazy people, that's who. Thank goodness Norman is crazy, then, because he's not balking dispite the evidence.
Still, you can't just kill Morgana in the past. That would effect the future. Dr. Doom decides to try something else entirely. He casts a spell that Le Fey has never heard before and Morgan is cast back into her time couldron. Where could she have possibly have been sent to?
As Iron Patriot says exactly what we're all thinking (time travel sucks a lot-- stop doing it), Morgan Le Fey wakes up in England. The year is one million B.C.
You'd think this would be worse than killing her but I guess we'll find that out in time.
Back in the Dark Ages, Norman Osborn wants to mess with time before they head back to the present. Dr. Doom is the voice of reason (which should be a common theme with these two) and mentions that any messing with the time stream could effect the future. It was mere chance that propelled Osborn to his position of power and, if they mess with time, that moment could disappear. That's enough to convince Osborn to head directly back to the present without passing Go.
In the present, The Dark Avengers have killed every demon and probably the dragon as well. Doom casts another magical spell to de-stone the god of war. Doom posits that the reason Morgana didn't kill Ares was that even she is afraid of the Olympians. Hera would go nuts.
Daken really wants to go home, by the way. He must need to get back to mess around with his dad in Wolverine Origins. Doom tells them that Morgan's threat is over and they can leave whenever they like. Venom tries to apologize to Hawkeye for the whole switching sides thing but it's too late. Hawkeye makes sure Mac knows that his days are numbered.
Sentry still remains gone. Norman's actually upset for having lost Bob Reynolds.
Everyone makes fun of Doom for no longer having a castle. Norman makes sure Doom knows that this mission will never be talked about because, frankly, it's embarrassing. Doom's not that thankful, either. With that, the Dark Avengers head back to New York.
Once they're gone, Dr. Doom uses his time cube to return his castle to a state of not being destroyed. Everything's back to normal and time travel is awesome and confusing at the very same time.
On the way back home, Ms. Marvel gives Captain Marvel compliments on doing a good job during the conflict and mentions that her moonstone is originally a Kree device. She leaves and both Noh-Vahr and Ares make sure to watch her go. Yes, they're staring at her butt.
Ms. Hand is informing Director Osborn about Clint Barton's little TV interview that aired while they were gone. Osborn doesn't listen all the way through but orders some air time of his own to respond to these accusations. Ms. Hand advises against that but Osborn doesn't like it when people call him a crazy killing machine even though, as Hawkeye points out, he's a crazy killing machine. Before this debate can go any further, a blinding burst of light hits their ship.
It's the Sentry. He's back. Norman is only a little freaked out about this.
Dark Reign: The Cabal #1
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Adi Granov
A lot of things took place after the first meeting of the Cabal. Sometime after Namor and Victor Von Doom leave the meeting room, Namor has a small meeting with Emma Frost that leads to the events in Uncanny X-Men Annual #2. Before they leave the room, however, Doom and Namor had a small conversation.
They basically reaffirm their alliance. Does that make any sense? No. Doom betrays his team-ups. It's what he does. He's betrayed Namor before. Namor knows that. Still, Doom tells his fishy ally that, when Norman eventually implodes, Doom will have the land and the Sub-Mariner will have the seas. Namor questions this.
What if Norman doesn't break down? Doom: He will. Namor: But what if he doesn't?
We cut to a year in the future. Norman Osborn has not lost control of everything. He's kept it all together even though his Iron Patriot armor is much more Green Goblin looking than what we're seeing in Dark Avengers. He's got a huge floating city-base hanging out near the Stature of Liberty. Even so, the Cabal has broken down. Only Doom and Namor have shown up for the latest meeting.
It's ok, though. Norman's brought his Avengers to fill in the gaps. It's time for some ch-ch-ch-changes.
Hawkeye (with a nice Bullseye symbol on his forehead) is the first to notice that Doom's not wearing his traditional green. He's in red. Doom tells everyone it was a gift from the Hood. We're treated to scenes from the battle between Victor and the Hood. Hood's looking pretty demonic but, obviously, loses. Doom took his cloak and... his cosmic cube? When does the Hood get a cosmic cube?
Well, it's Dr. Doom's now and he uses it to teleport the Dark Avengers to the other side of the universe. Hopefully on a breathable world but I doubt Doom cares. That leaves Osborn alone but he quickly completes armoring up in order to defend himself.
Doom, of course, still has his cosmic cube and uses it to de-armor Norman. Namor finishes him off with his spear even though Osborn had given the Sub-Mariner back his kingdom. With Director Osborn dead, Namor asks what's happened to the rest of the Cabal. The Hood's fate is easy enough to figure out but what about Loki and Emma Frost? Doom... well, he shows us what he thinks of women's lib.
We switch back to today only to learn that this was all in Dr. Doom's head. This is before the Dark Avengers have even been formed or Osborn has put together the Iron Patriot armor but they are impressivly accurate. So... could the rest be just as accurate? Makes ya think, doesn't it? Where IS this storyline going?
It's good to point out that this What If scenario was based on Namor's question, "what if Norman doesn't implode?" So this is a specific plan. It's interesting to note that, in the end of this scenario, Doom does betray Namor, choking his ally. That's how team-ups end when you deal with Dr. Doom.
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Daniel Acuña
The next story is all about how Emma Frost views the world. It's made up of a series of flashbacks in no particular order. The first one is when she was a teacher on Genosha after her stint as Headmistress of the Massachusettes Academy in Generation X and before she joined the New X-Men team. The scene shows her last class, when the Sentinels came to the island nation and killed everything. Emma was one of the few survivors thanks to her secondary mutation kicking in and her diamond form saving her life. It wasn't the first time that her students have been killed.
One such incident happened during her time with Generation X. Her sister, Adrienne, was involved in the killing of the Gen X'er named Synch. I always liked Synch. In the end, Emma shot and killed her sister.
Still not the first time she's lost students though. Back when the Blue and Gold X-Men teams had just formed, Emma lost her students, the Hellions to yet another Sentinel attack. At this point, Emma mentions that she always thought the X-Men were elitist even though her own students were the rich and influential... well, except for maybe Warpath. Still, she had a lot of regular students that were made up of the elite for certain. Still, this is her own thoughts and memories and they don't have to have any basis in reality.
We then revisit how the Phoenix burned out her mind at the beginning of the Dark Phoenix Saga. We see that she survived and was nursed back to health by the Hellfire Club.
And now we move even further into the past to show a nice family shot of the earlier Frosts. Emma was the chosen successor to the Frost fortune but she rejected that in order to make her own way in the world. This led to some fetish scenes before she raised herself to new levels in the Hellfire Club.
We're now given a series of scenes where her students are killed and she is caught in fire before ending on the first Cabal meeting. We end with the scene we were missing from the Genosha Incident. Her diamond form activates, saving her life. She's got her own reason for surviving, though. She survives because she refuses to not survive. She refuses to get burned by the flames.
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Max Fiumara
Dying in the underworld is certainly nothing new. You'd think that a lot of the Hood's men would have died by this point. They've actually stayed pretty alive, though. In Hell's Kitchen, the Hood presides over the funeral of one member that has been less fortunate. So now we just need to know how this dude died.
In the near past, Parker Robbins, the Hood, is hanging out at home with his baby momma, Sara, and his young daughter. He's never actually told Sara what he does and his lies are wearing pretty thin. Parker doesn't hang out with Sara and the kid very often and his jobs don't bear much resemblence to real life. So the two fight. Or one of them does. Parker just kisses the baby and takes off.
In the present and at the funeral, the Hood is turning this entire event on it's side and mentioning that the person in the casket was killed by a traitor. Madame Masque (who was just locking lips with Parker last week in New Avengers #52) wonders who would ever betray the Hood. Oh, don't worry, the Hood will find out who has and take care of them.
Back in our flashback, Parker has walked to his waiting SUV where the driver wakes from his nap. He wasn't expecting the Hood back this early and starts asking a few too many questions. Robbins tells his driver to shut up and mind his own business. JUST MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS!
Back to the funeral. You might be figuring out who's in the casket by now. The Hood is using this opportunity to promote his little gang and say how they've all learned to work together to achieve a common goal.
In the flashback, Parker Robbins' business is starting to be hard not to mind. Sara has followed him with baby in tow. She demands to know how he suddenly got so well off that he's riding around in SUV's with paid drivers. She wants him to trust her. Parker isn't giving her any info and tells her that, if she keeps asking, he'll leave her.
At the funeral, Parker lays on the company line about solidarity and brotherhood.
In the flashback, our poor, poor driver is learning stuff he never should. He now knows that the Hood is visiting his family and has even met that family. He's casually talking about how much family means and other personal stuff not knowing that he's already a dead man. Parker asks him to drive to the river. When they get there, the two share a bottle of hard liquor before the bad deed gets down. The driver continues to give the Hood personal advie while also sealing his own fate.
In the end, Parker Robbins shoots his driver, Sam, in the back of the head. In his own words, this is because he was a coward that "lacked the honor to look his victim in the eye." Still, you do what you do to protect your family. Even kill someone loyal to you.
At least that's what you do if you're the Hood.
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Carmine Di Giandomenico
Namor may not have much of a kingdom right now but there are still Atlanteans living under the sea. Some of those Atlanteans aren't even supposed to be there. For cases like that, Namor holds court and passes judgement on his people. The case currently before him is a custody hearing.
The couple had been divorced six years ago with the mother taking the kid, Crosta. The father wasn't that happy with the decision then and he's even less happy with it now. The dad accuses the mom of not joining a sleeper cell on the surface as was Namor's royal decree. She has disobeyed her monarch and therefore doesn't deserve custody of their child.
Sounds cut and dry, doesn't it? Namor thinks so but he's perplexed that the dad wasn't the one who asked for a royal ruling on the matter. It was the mom. So what's the deal?
The mother has a simple reason for not joining a sleeper cell with her son that will become apparently... right about now.
Yeah. Crosta's a mutant and I'm not even gonna try to explain that. No mutants have been activated since M-Day and Crosta certainly activated after that according to the story. Namor sees why Crosta wouldn't fit in a sleeper cell but that doesn't excuse their disobedience or silence on the matter. They could have lived in Latveria with the military.
The mother believes that, once Crosta's father learned about his mutant ability to create shockwaves, her child would have been made into a weapon by the military. The father doesn't deny that at all making sure it's plain that Crosta lacks full control over his powers. Such a force should be used by the military. The mother wants her child to have as normal a life as possible.
Namor is pissed off at both parents. The mother hid her child and left him without aid in his newfound powers. The father is guilty of desiring to turn his child, a citizen of Atlantis, into a weapon. Namor decides to take the child away from both parents and raise him as his ward.
Crosta's not happy with this and lashes out with his shockwave powers. Namor easily bests the child and lectures him on his lack of respect. His subjects are to remain loyal and obedient. In return, Namor will do what's best for them whether they want it or not. Crosta will be sent to the X-Men in San Francisco to be trained in his powers and to learn discipline.
Namor has spoken.
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Tonci Zonjic
This story makes the least sense of all and it's probably due to Peter Milligan not actually reading the Thor comic. If he had he would have found that Loki's alliance with Dr. Doom has been going strong since before Loki was reintroduced to Thor and his fellow Asgardians.
As it stands, this issue is a test for Loki. A test of her godhood.
First, Loki's food is poisoned. She knows it but, since it won't affect her godly constitution, she' continues to eat.
She's trying to forge an alliance with the good Doctor but, as I've already said, that alliance was already forged a while back. Again, it's hard to justify this meeting but let's continue anyway. Doom immediately thinks Loki is refering to the Cabal but the Trickster Goddess is thinking of something more personal between the two. A partnership apart from the Cabal.
The tests aren't over, though. Doom seals the room. Loki is nonplussed on the issue and continues to eat and comment on her poisoned food. The pictures on the wall begin spitting out flames. As the room is engulfed in flames, the two servants beg Loki to save them. Instead, Loki goes off on a tangent about the Dwarves of Nidavellir. The servants are consumed by the fire. The Doombot that's been host to Loki melts to slag.
Dr. Doom is watching this entire display in another room entirely. He's seen Loki survive poisoning and not be burned by a flaming room. She didn't even care when the servants went up in flames. Doom is convinced that this is, in fact, Loki. He directs her to the locked door and the Trickster smashes through to greet the Latverian monarch.
Loki understands the need to confirm her identity and, with that pleasantry out of the way, she begins her proposal. Doom makes sure Loki understands one thing. He's not here to help. He's here to team up and eventually betray. You only get that option.
Still, when Loki proposes that the Asgardians come to Latveria, Doom is interested. He's concerned about the will of Odin but, to anyone actually reading Thor, they'll know that Odin is still dead. Thor's no longer a concern. The current ruler of Asgard is Balder and Loki doesn't believe that he's much of a mind. He should be easily convinced.
This is all an elaborate plan for Loki to finally become ruler of Asgard. Still, what does Doom gain from all this. Loki promises the dictator something that he currently doesn't have but we're not privy to what that is. Doom, however, is convinced. The Asgardians have a new home and Doom gets... something out of the deal. Whatever it eventually turns out to be.
And, honestly, if anyone's going to betray Dr. Doom, it's Loki.
War Machine #5
Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Leonardo Manco
The streets of Makazan, the capital city of Aqiria, are erupting in violence. This isn't civil unrest, though. This is the Ultimo contagion unleashed. To make matters that much worse, Ares has been infected. There's also an annoying U.S. Senator walking the streets who's more concerned for his well being than anything else because he's a freaking caricature of a real human being. You'll see him complaining about his safety and being a minor nuisance throughout the book but I'm just going to ignore him from here on out because he's an annoying caricature in a pretty good story. If he becomes important later on, just know that he was in Makazan and he was a pest. That's all you really need to know.
Suzi Endo isn't in Aqiria. Our Cybermancer is in Hong Kong. She's a cyber ace, though, and Jim Rhodes has contacted her in order to work out how to stop the Ultimo contagion. Since the contagion runs on a code, Suzi can beat it. She just needs a way to upload a kill code after she's worked out just what that code will be. Parnell Jacobs, currently acting as War Machine's tech guy, has just the thing. Rhodey's stealth satellite is equipped with an EMP generator and should be a more than sufficient delivery system. It just needs to get out of orbit and into Aqiria. Parnell is a bit ticked off that his wife wasn't rescued and, instead, became part of the contagion. If they can't cure her, he plans on killing Rhodey.
If Jim doesn't beat him to it. Bethany Cabe, also involved in this mission and originally helping to grow a new body for Jim Rhodes, is keeping an eye on Rhodey's vitals and sees them all failing one by one. She's already told Jim to get into stasis and get delivered back to the War Machine R & D Facility in Colorado but War Machine isn't one to follow rules. He took the shuttle that was supposed to pick him up and made it part of his armored suit. That suit is looking more hodge podge all the time but continues to be pretty damn awesome and always riddled with weaponry. The last member of our cast is Lieutenant Jake Oh. He's former SHIELD and is one of the few guys on site that didn't contract the Ultimo contagion. He's helping Rhodey out as best he can and is currently riding into battle with on what's left of the shuttle.
Bethany isn't happy that Rhodey keeps fighting since she's about to lose a friend to a failing body but, like I said, Rhodey will not be stopped. His body is shutting down on him but all he sees is the loss of more lives if he doesn't do something. Our hero has five minutes remaining before brain failure. It's time to make those minutes count. While War Machine takes the battle straight to Ares, Lieutenant Oh creates a firewall out of the wreckage of his ride and then sees to getting innocents to safety.
Meanwhile, Jim is being a cyborg punching bag. He's focusing all their attention on him so that Suzi can create an opening. He demands that she open up part of his programming for an as-yet-unknown reason. Before we can see the results of that, Glenda Sandoval, the woman Jim originally came to rescue, Parnell's wife, and current carrier of the Ultimo Contagion, plants a kiss on Jim Rhodes.
We cut to a flashback of Jim and Glenda's first kiss back when they were both kids. Yeah, their connection is that they're childhood friends but this is the first time we've seen that they had a romantic connection. I mean, we all could have guessed but it's the first overt mention. The compare bruises and a young Jim Rhodes gets all alpha male when he learns that everyone picks on Glenda. She's a black Puerto Rican and gets it from all sides. She doesn't much mind, though. She's going to escape this place and make something of herself and is certain that Jim will too. That doesn't mean Jim isn't all upset, though.
In the present, Jim is able to save everyone from the virus. His armor is able to absorb other technologies and, with some tweaking from Suzi Endo, he was able to do just that. He took in the Ultimo Contagion and freed everyone else from it. The benefit to Jim is that it's prevented him from dying. The Ultimo Contagion makes people pretty invulnerable and it's restoring his inner guts to working order. It will take him over soon, though, so her orders Jake Oh to get everyone away from him. He's still got more people to absorb the virus out of... like Ares.
The battle is a lot less even this time and War Machine is able to cure Ares of the contagion before flinging the god of war out of the blast zone.
Time is running out. Jim is going to lose control soon. Endo needs two minutes to code the countermeasures to the contagion but Rhodey doesn't believe that's near enough time. Best thing to do is kill him off with the Stealth Satellite and he takes control of it to do just that. Bethany doesn't believe that Jim would ever kill/infect that many innocent lives, though, and begs him to hold out.
Rhodey does lose control but the satellite transforms and slugs him out so he won't be able to kill anyone. Endo readies the countermeasures. The EMP is lit up and everyone crosses their fingers.
Post-Hell, Ares is the one to recover his "champion" from the debris. Rhodey rises, free of the Ultimo contagion and also not dying from organ failure. He may still be a cyborg but at least he's not immediately dying. He's just not that happy that Ares thinks of him as the god of war's champ.
Glenda's alive. Parnell is ok (some broken bones, nothing serious). After making some suggestions as to what Jim should do to Glenda, Ares books from a job well done. It's time for the debriefing from... Norman Osborn? Yeah.
Director Osborn offers everyone exactly what they've always wanted. Mostly it's pardons all around but Glenda is offered the ability to testify to Congress about Eaglestar's loopholes and Jake Oh gets a Bicentennial Captain America action figure MiB. Rhodey, of course, gets...
It's a reward for going above and beyond the call of duty and it is thoroughly rejected by James Rhodes. This job is far from over. Ultimo didn't go down in Aqiria. It went down in the United States. Someone over there authorized it being sent over here and turned into a biological weapon straight from a horror film.
Jim tells everyone to skedaddle before HAMMER is on this location but no one's leaving this mission. They are all as committed as Rhodey is. Next stop: The United States of America (and, yes, Rhodey's starting to bear a great resemblance to Deathlok, thanks for noticing).
Writer: Daniel Way
Penciler: Paco Medina
Yes, this one is a second printing since I somehow missed out on it the first time around and wasn't able to grab a copy anywhere. I figured I better give you the run down before tracking straight into the final chapter of Magnum Opus.
Last we saw, Deadpool had just owned the entire Thunderbolts lineup before falling head over heals in love/lust with Yelena Belova, the second Black Widow. The two sort of flirt it out but only so that Black Widow can move in to kick Deadpool in the boys. Oh, the boys! Man, to groin hits in two weeks. I really hope that isn't a pattern.
In this situation, though, the one to get hurt is Yelena. Wade was packing heat in his pants and.. well, he had a gun down there. We're all hoping the safety was on but, even so, how safe is that, really? Thank goodness he has a healing factor's all I'm sayin.' Anyway, Wade pulls out the gun and is witty enough to make Black Widow smile and admit that she doesn't have a boyfriend. Someone's got a crush. Actually, it could be two someones.
Paladin interupts this little love fest and Deadpool has to escape before he gets shot up some more.
You may have been wondering who the mysterious someone was that Wade was talking to in the last issue of Thunderbolts OR who supplied him with weapons for his trip into Avengers Tower. Wonder no longer! The answer to both questions is Taskmaster! The two have a love/hate relationship that dates back to when Wade Wilson kicked Tasky's tail in WAY back in the early issues of DP's first ongoing. They're getting along much better these days which means they aren't at each other's throats but still don't really like each other. Taskmaster is strictly in this for the money and Deadpool... well, Wade's got a pretty awesome plan to milk Ozzy of a small fortune but he's also trying to pick up a certain woman. And the plan involves Taskmaster dressing up in a Deadpool costume.
At the Oscorp diplomatic suite in New York, Black Widow is looking up information on Wade Wilson. Paladin thinks she likes him likes him but he's not coming right out and saying it. He's chicken. Before we learn the definitive answer on how much Yelena Belova hearts Deadpool, Osborn holograms his way in to ask for a sit-rep. Belova starts going into details about how they lost their tracer on Wade but Osborn seems to have located their target for them.
Wade hired out an airplane to fly over the city to give Black Widow his phone number.
Black Widow calls him up but, as you can tell if you know Wade's word balloons, she's not talking to Wade Wilson. She's talking to Taskmaster. Before the conversation gets too far, Tasky hangs up. He was only going for a signal trace on her cell phone. That's what the T-Bolts were doing as well. Taskmaster gives this info to Wade just as Ghost is giving it to Black Widow.
Yelena orders her team to take out Wilson and remains behind to distract him when he calls back. The T-Bolts are to take an Oscorp van because the Thunderstrike would be too loud and cause DP to bolt.
Before the Thunderbolts leave the room, the real Deadpool calls back and the goofy teenage lovey dovey stuff begins. Also, the Thunderbolts' Oscorp van is blown up from above. The Thunderbolts are pinned down on the street below. Yes. Deadpool is in that chartered plane with the goofy banner.
There are moments when I love comics and this happens to be one of them.
It soon becomes obvious that flying a plane, talking on a cell phone, and gunning down the T-Bolts aren't easy to do at the same time. Something has to give and, first, it's the cell phone falling out of the plane and then the plane falling out of the sky. That's why you should always bring a teleporter along. Wade teleports back to Taskmaster's facility and calls up Black Widow one last time.
Yelena answers and throws down some quick threats only to have Deadpool teleport directly to her location to get them personally. The fight is quick but that's only because Wade's more interested in kissing. Black Widow wonders why he's so... so Deadpool-like and we learn it's because, when he looks at Black Widow, he sees Death.
Wade and Death sort of have a thing. Don't tell Thanos.
The T-Bolts are returning to Black Widow so Deadpool needs to 'port back to Taskmaster one more time. It's time for the final part of Deadpool's plan and the reason Taskmaster is all dressed up as DP. One of them has to distract the Thunderbolts while the other makes time with the Black Widow. It's a quick game of paper, rock, scissors to determine that...
Wade gets to fight the group while Tasky gets to hang out with the russian woman. Wade is teleported into place and the gun fire part begins. Taskmaster has a bit more trouble because Black Widow has made her way up to the rood of the building. The fake DP and Black Widow kinda sorta flirt a bit before Tasky tries to get her to steal the Thunderstrike and fly off with him. It looks like she's agreeing but, once Taskmaster is aboard the jet, he's locked inside. Captured!
Writer: Andy Diggle
Penciler: Bong Dazo
And now: The exciting conclusion to Magnum Opus!
The Thunderbolts present "Deadpool" to Norman Osborn and our man is happy as all get out except for one thing. The Merc with a Mouth is still breathing. The Thunderstrike was filled with knock-out gas but nothing that would kill him. Black Widow expects his healing factor to overcome the gas swiftly but, since this isn't the real Deadpool, it's gonna take more time than not.
Ozzy's not happy about this. The T-Bolts just aren't performing up to the standards he was looking for. They haven't actually killed Deadpool yet nor have the retrieved the teleporter the slipped the merc in order to track his movements. The teleporter WAS able to find that DP was working for Nick Fury but the team hasn't been able to work out Fury's current location. Top that off with Paladin being injured in the fight and Headsman taking a shot to the leg and this team is seriously under-performing.
With Osborn's history with Headsman, it comes as no surprise that he lashes out at the axe wielder's uselessness in the last mission. Headsman takes that criticism and decides to act on it. He raises his axe in order to cut off Deadpool's head.
Now, we all know that that's not really DP. It's Taskmaster in a Deadpool costume. WE know that but they don't. That makes it one heck of a surprise when the real Deadpool teleports in with more weapons on his person than War Machine could even handle. Everyone's stunned except for Norman Osborn who just wants this merc killed. Is that so much to ask?
Wade shoots the chains holding the fake DP and it's party time. Looks like Taskmaster was playing possum. The Widow faces down the Tasky in a pretty even match up. Granted, even is just what you get until Taskmaster learns what moves you're using. He gets Yelena's number and moves on to Headsman.
Deadpool tries taking down Ant-Man only to have the miniature mercenary shrink down and climb into his suit. It's more ticklish than should be legally allowed.
Deadpool temporarily shoots himself out of the fight but no one can capitalize on that. Yelena is just recovering from her fight with Taskmaster and Osborn can't get the Ghost to engage the target. Norman decides it's best to remove himself from this fight and takes off in his jet. Deadpool isn't about to let him go. He hitches a ride on the jet to get a personal conference with the world's top cop.
Black Widow is also not ready to let this fight go. She hitches a ride herself.
Aboard the jet, Norman is ordering Ms. Hand to get the Dark Avengers together. Maybe they'll be able to take down Deadpool since the T-Bolts are failing to do so. But will they get the chance? Wade's in the cabin and pointing a gun at Normy. This just upsets the delicate sanity of Osborn. He stops flying the jet and lunges at Wade, taking a shot to the side in doing so. Still, the unexpected attack and Osborn's Goblin strength work to his advantage. The crashing jet, however, brings the battle back over to Wade's side as even a killing shot straight through DP's heart delivered by Black Widow isn't enough to take him out.
The whole fight is beginning to grate on an already crazy Norman Osborn. Black Widow mentions that only removing Wade's head will finalize this engagement and that's when Headsman appears out of no where to take Wade's head straight off.
Osborn congratulates Headsman for finally getting the job done but declines actually taking Wade's head as a trophy. He orders it burnt and for them to get back to business afterward.
You'd think that'd be enough to take Wade out of the fight but we find him later emptying out ATMs with Norman's Gold Card. Turns out he snagged it during the fight and he's finally getting paid for that Skrull weapon that Norman stole from him. Taskmaster is embarrassed by this whole deal but isn't turning down the pay day. Wade thanks him for sewing his head back on but Taskmaster can't take credit for that. Someone else did it.
The only explanation: Black Widow did it. She's got a crush! On Deadpool! Wierd!
Ms. Marvel #38
Writer: Brian Reed
Artist: Rebekah Isaacs
And now, it's Karla Sofen's time to shine as she steps into the role of Ms. Marvel in Carol's former title. At least for a little while. Don't get used to her.
It's super crime! There's some dudes in battle suits with glowy green Wolverine claws (they're in style this year) robbing an armored car. The Raiders? It's hard to tell. There are three of them and I'm just guessing now. It's not really important. It's just to show that there's a new Ms. Marvel in town and she's here to take down crime. Super crime.
It also shows off her super powers. Flight. Intangibility. Energy manipulation. She's a lot more violent than your average Ms. Marvel is and a whole lot more sure of herself. No, really. This isn't the whiny Ms. Marvel you're used to. The drawback? This Ms. Marvel kills. It's sort of like the Punisher... if Frank Castle was a hot blonde authorized by the government to fight super crime. He isn't. Karla is. She's also being cheered for her work.
Ms. Marvel flies back to Avengers Tower to take a quick meeting with Norman Osborn (Dude is everywhere). She's not exactly thrilled to be wearing the Ms. Marvel costume. It's a little too... it shows off her butt. A lot. It's probably got internet pages dedicated to it by now. Granted, during Civil War Sofen's costume basically disintegrated around her so it's nothing new. It's just not something she likes.
Osborn cuts to the chase. There are new psych evaluations going around for the Avengers (because this is a stable group of people that would easily pass psych evals /sarcasm). Osborn wants Sofen to go first since she's a psychologist herself. She'll be able to judge this guy's methods. Karla doesn't want to go but it's not like she's given a choice.
The psychologist's name is Doctor Gerald Wright and he's got some unusual methods. He goes through Karla's record and mentions that he's one of only three people that knows the Dark Avengers' ID's. She's 33 years old, has a record (that was cleared when she joined the T-Bolts), and used to convince her patients to kill themselves while she watched (also cleared when she joined the T-Bolts). Once this is all out of the way, Dr. Wright engages in the use of his telepathic abilities.
Wright seems to be obsessing over Karla's relationship with her mother and the illusions suddenly shows Karla as a preteen interacting with her mom. Sofen's not fooled by the illusion and demands that it be lifted. "Mom" turns out to be a construct of Wright's and he uses it to explore just what Karla's mother did for her. Worked three jobs to support her and get her through college, for one. And look what happened to Dr. Sofen. She became a super criminal named Moonstone.
Karla's not exactly happy with how this is going and how Wright is trying to lay a guilt trip on her. She's not really the type to take on guilt. Wright tries to find out what Karla was doing instead of being by her mom's side when she died. Suddenly he disappears from the illusion but Karla's still trapped within it wearing her latest version of the Moonstone suit. Wright smashes through the wall in the form of the Incredible Hulk. The green version. Karla's got a fixation with the Hulk for some reason.
Hulk Wright is still asking questions but spends more time beating up on Karla than getting answers. Karla tries fighting back only to learn that she doesn't have access to her powers. Wright tells her that the previous Ms. Marvel didn't have use her's close to the end either. That's when we learn that this psych evaluation is all a big set up so that Dr. Wright could come in and kill the Dark Avengers. He sees them tarnishing the reputation of those they're replacing. Like Carol Danvers, Steve Rogers, probably Clint Barton, too. He used every connection he had to arrange this meeting and is now fully intent on killing her and the rest of her team.
Worse, there's nothing Karla can do to stop him. Well, almost nothing.
Except freak the hell out of him.
Wright can only keep her under his control for so long. He commands Karla to choke herself to death. But Karla's got other plans. She asks him if he's figured out why the Hulk is so important to her. He doesn't know but he's curious. Curious enough to take a peek.
The truth behind her mother's death. The truth is that, before she joined up with the T-Bolts, she was staying with her mother after getting out of jail. Her mother had sacrificed everything for her and she'd up and become a super criminal. She couldn't stand having her mom see her as a villain so she killed her mother. Karla suffocated her and burned the house down.
This shocks Wright enough to release the psychic influence which gives Karla back all her powers. Wright is still shocked to his core when Sofen kills him. She leaves the psych evaluation and ignores Osborn's questions on how it all went.
The Amazing Spider-Man #27
Writers: Steve Ditko & Stan Lee
Artist: Steve Ditko
The Green Goblin has captured Spider-Man. While his mask is sealed on tightly with webbing, it still puts a damper in the Crime-Master's chances to control all the rackets in the city. Everyone wants to follow the Goblin now. The mobsters chain up Spider-Man and unanimously vote the Green Goblin their leader.
Hidden in the crowd is our informant, Patch. He's concerned about Spidey's safety and sneaks out to inform the police who even now should be staking out the location.
After Green Goblin has been named king of crime, he orders that Spider-Man be brought back to him so that the hero can be unmasked and killed. Good thing, then, that Peter Parker is beginning to stir. Before Green Goblin can rip the mask off, Spidey has escaped his handlers and caused the green villain to stumble.
Both Goblin and Crime-Master realize the importance of recapturing Spider-Man but neither understand the importance of team work. Their separate attacks are easily directed at the other and both barely miss getting taken out of the action with their clumsy blasts. Spidey is still chained up, though, so a rush of criminals is able to over power him and nearly end the fight for the wall crawler.
Reinforcements are on the way, however. The police raid the building on Patch's tip and divide the criminals inside. There aren't that many police officers on hand, though, and they find themselves pretty outnumbered. The criminals holding Spidey down is lessened to the point that Peter can use his strength to break out of their hold. Now, it's time to do something about those pesky chains.
Spidey's battle is divided by three. When he hits the air, he's fighting the Green Goblin. On the ground, he's threatened by the brilliant aim of the Crime-Master. In between both there are far too many criminals. Still, Spidey finds the time to set up his automatic camera and get some photos to sell of this whole thing. This is a great old fashioned fist fight for almost everyone except Crime-Master. Spidey finally finds that working with the police is the best place to set up and there are enough criminals to keep everyone busy. Also keeping Peter busy is his costume. It's falling apart on him once again and he's fighting to stay clothed throughout the fight.
Again, Peter find himself split between fighting Green Goblin and the Crime-Master versus lending a hand to the police. Helping the cops, Spider-Man is able to end most of the fighting and capture a good number of criminals. The rest surrender to the authorities. Well, except for Green Goblin and Crime-Master. Green Goblin flies off, narrowly avoiding being caught in Spider-Man's webs. Crime-Master rushes to the lower levels with Spider-Man giving chase. While Peter chases after the Crime-Master, police reinforcement arrive to see that the original officers have already arrested all on hand with a little help from their friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
Underground, Spidey is quickly pursuing the Crime-Master with bullets flying his way every chance the villain gets. Neither is able to hit the other with their choice of projectiles (Spidey, of course, is using his webbing). Crimey ducks into a large pipe believing that he's lost Spider-Man but the Wall Crawler is right behind him, following just out of earshot.
Crime-Master isn't resting on his laurels, though. Even though he thinks he's lost his pursuer, he's not taking any chances. Before he leaves the pipe, he releases a lethal gas into it hoping to kill anyone following him. He's very nearly done it too except Spidey is able to web up a helmet to keep any trace of the gas out of his air passages. It also keeps air out, though, so Spidey's got to move fast. When he finally gets out of the tunnel, Peter Parker isn't able to pick up Crime-Master's trail and has to call it quits.
Peter returns to the meeting site on the waterfront only to find that the police have wrapped things up and are on their way back to headquarters. Spider-Man's out of ideas so he decides to try Frederick Foswell's place once again. Reaching Foswell's apartment, Spidey finds that the spider-tracer he put in Foswell's hat never went back inside it once Spider-Man was shot at last issue. Searching further, Peter finds a false back to Frederick's closet but the space inside is currently empty. Something's up but Spidey hasn't figured out what yet.
Still, Peter's pretty sure that Foswell is dirty. He was the former Big Man, after all. He swings over to the Daily Bugle to give J. Jonah Jameson a warning but the Bugle's publisher won't hear any of it. Spidey hasn't got any solid proof and Jameson assigned Foswell to investigate Green Goblin and Crime-Master so, obviously, his name's going to come up. He calls in Frederick to give him the chance to defend himself from these accusations. Foswell states plainly that he's too smart to get reinvolved with the New York underground.
But the underground really wants to get involved with Foswell. The Crime-Master is across the street from the Bugle and is ready to take revenge on three of his enemies: Spidey, Jameson, and Foswell. His timing couldn't be worse. The police have already surrounded him. A quick gunfight later and the Crime-Master is near death.
None of this surprises Frederick Foswell. He seemed to know that the Crime-Master was outside and, when gunfire is heard, he quickly announces that the Crime-Master is done for. It's interesting to see that Spidey isn't directly involved in this end. Crime-Master dies across the street and Spider-Man is a bystander if that.
Before dying, Crime-Master tries to tell the police who the Green Goblin is but he's not able to sputter out Norman Osborn's name in time.
A police officer runs across to the Bugle to congratulate Foswell. It seems that Frederick was instrumental in identifying the Crime-Master's secret identity to the police. The Crime-Master's secret identity is actually set up to mimic Ditko's ideas for Green Goblin's secret ID. Ditko was set on having the Green Goblin revealed to be a nobody. No one important at all and certainly not someone connected to Peter Parker's real life. Crime-Master is just that. His secret identity is that of Nick "Lucky" Lewis. If you've never heard that name before, it's with good reason. He was just some guy.
Spidey apologizes to Frederick Foswell for accusing him of being guilty of something but, inside, he still has a feeling Foswell's hiding something. Frederick accepts the apology but JJJ is much less gracious. He orders the attendant officer to arrest Spider-Man but the officer sees no reason to do so. Spidey takes off anyway. His clothes are, again, falling apart and he just remembered that he left his automatic camera at the waterfront. Boy needs to get paid.
After tucking his costume back together, Peter returns to the waterfront warehouse only to find his camera missing. After a misadventure involving tripping of a rotted plank, Spidey is able to reclaim his camera from some kids who couldn't get it to work. Unfortunately, his substitute suit has just about had it. The accidental bath he just took has the costume shrink up on him. Since his day of crime fighting is pretty much at an end, Peter switches back into his civvies, cursing himself for ever having bought the spider-costume. Still, maybe he can use the thing for something. He holds onto it for some later use.
After developing his photographs, Peter decides to sell his shots to someone other than JJJ. He heads to the Daily Globe where he learns that he can get much better rates for his photos but also way more questions asked. He learns a valuable lesson about not selling to J. Jonah Jameson. At least the Bugle is discreet. Jonah later sees the shots in the Globe and immediately recognizes the style as Peter's. He makes plans to butter up his prize Spider-photographer so as not to lose him to the competition.
Back at home, Peter is still searching around for his missing Spider-suit. Aunt May took it away from him but he hasn't been able to locate it anywhere. Not even the garbage. It looks like he'll have to resort to the thing he most dreads. He's gonna have to sew himself a new suit. Before he can get very far, he discovers that his Aunt is home early. It seems that Mrs. Watson is busy this evening and May is lonely. Peter decides making a new costume can wait for another night and takes his favorite aunt out to the movies instead.
Yes, this comic just keeps going. We cut over to Frederick Foswell. He's got one more secret to reveal only to us readers. Remember Patch, the police informant that led the cops into the raid at the waterfront? That was Foswell. No one would give info to the former Big Man so Foswell ended up created a new persona to help him get information from the mobs. No one's aware that it's him yet and the identity is being retired for now. Still, you never know when Patch might come in use in the future.
In another part of the city, the Green Goblin, heavily shadowed and not wearing his mask, rants about his latest defeat. Once again he has failed to unite the crime rackets under his banner and once again he was foiled by Spider-Man. The Goblin decides it's time to lay low and wait till the heat has died down. He'll return for revenge when everyone least expects it. Mwahaha.
Finally, Aunt May and Peter Parker exit the movie theater. They've had a splendid night out and, as Aunt May frets over her sensitive nephew, the two get on the bus and head for home.
Wow, that was a time, wasn't it? I'll see you again later this week for yet another chapter building up to Super Reads first anniversary! B)
Until then: Who Do YOU Trust?