Monday, March 19, 2018 • Morning Edition • "The CBR of comic book journalism."

Super Reads War of Kings and Dark Reign 50

Written by SuperginraiX on Thursday, June 11 2009 and posted in Features
badguy50.jpgBetter REALLY late than never!

Today, we check out War of Kings #3, New Avengers: The Reunion #3, Agents of Atlas #4, The Invincible Iron Man #13, Deadpool #10, and Blast to the Past with New Mutants #'s 38-40. Enjoy and spread the word!

Spoilers Ahead!


I took a little vacation from these and now I've gotta play some major catch up!

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 49 previous articles. It's perfect for all your reading needs.

OK, let's get back to that War thing.

wok3.jpgWar of Kings #3
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Penciler: Paul Pelletier

Last issue, Emperor Vulcan decided to deal with his anger issues by killing the former ruler of all things Shi'ar, Lilandra. This issue opens with just how that scene turned out.

Yeah, Lilandra isn't dead. Admiral Ka'ardum steps inbetween the two to prevent the death of his niece. Oh, he's got his reasons. He tells Vulcan that killing Lilandra would make her a martyr and rally others to her cause. More than that, it would remove a rival to the throne and that's not as awesome as it sounds. Instead of rallying people to return her to the throne, threats could come from any quarter. Vulcan asks Gladiator's opinion on the matter and the leader of the Imperial Guard agrees with the Admiral.

This talks Vulcan out of the immediate kill. Everyone grovels as Vulcan reaffirms his plans to try and execute the former Majestrix of the Shi'ar. He commands Gladiator to personally see to Lilandra's transfer to Chandilar after the current rounds of fighting are over. This leads into Gladiator's narration on how the current Shi'ar/ Kree War is going. The Shi'ar made some great plays during the first two days but Vulcan's strategy is sloppy and arrogant while the Kree/Inhuman retaliation has been swift, surgical, and precise. The war is up in the air at this point but the Shi'ar are losing their advantage.

Crystal relays a lot of this information to the former ruler of the Kree, Ronan. Much like the Shi'ar, the Kree have also seen a recent change in leadership and both Empires are currently ruled by a regent from Earth. The difference is that Black Bolt is working with the former Kree ruler while Vulcan is out for blood. Ronan was heavily injured in the first precision strike from the Shi'ar on his wedding day with Crystal and, while the two consider this a marriage of convenience with no emotions behind it, you'd barely be able to tell. Crystal seems to bear some actual affection for the Accuser and we already know that Ronan's got real feelings.

Ronan's making good on recovering and Crystal's been there to support him and keep him informed on the war effort. Ronan actually asks her if they made it through the wedding ceremony and Crystal affirms that they did. Ronan compliments her on her actions to help the Kree that have suffered during this war and then asks about the Uplift Program. This is the Inhuman's plan to revive the stunted evolution of the Kree race (we, apparently, are no longer acknowledging the Ru'ul as the next evolution of the Kree). Crystal doesn't know how that's going but she tells the Accuser that she'll find out.

While Crystal flies back to Attilan, we get a small and pretty much useless flashback relating to the Uplift Program being presented to Ronan. It basically goes over the fact that the Kree are at an evolutionary dead end and that, using the Terrigen Mists, Black Bolt hopes to jump start them (again, don't look at the Ru'ul-- they haven't been relevant since Maximum Security and might have fallen out of continuity all together). Ronan is very excited to hear of the Uplift Program and wholeheartedly approves.

Back in the present, it looks like the Uplift Program has been put on hold for the war effort. Maximus, who was the one developing the program, has been assigned to produce more echo-weapons and Echo-Sentinels. Maximus seems like he's actually upset to be pulled away from his work on the Uplift Program and Karnak expresses this to Crystal. When Crys asks Karnak about how the program was going before Maxi was pulled away, Karnak tells her that it was not going successfully. The Kree were proving immune to the Terrigen Mists.

When Crystal asks what happens if it truly fails, Medusa enters to tell her that the Inhumans will continue to rule over them and care for them. Crys believes this will make them second class citizens to the Inhumans and the two sisters continue to argue politics like they were on a message board. The only real interesting thing to come from this conversation is that Maximus intimates that the Inhumans have engaged in CHANGING people to make them join the right side. This is almost off the cuff but it basically comes down to the theory that the reason Max is being so helpful is that his mind has been altered. With that, Crys reports to Black Bolt.

Crys approaches Black Bolt and asks him about how this is all going to play out. The War. The Uplift Program. The future of the Kree people. His answer is, of course, silent but dismaying to Crystal. Makes you wonder who the good guys are in this war, eh?

Well, it's still the Inhumans but at least there's some gray.

In the Shi'ar Offworlds, the warship, Spirit of the Aerie, is refueling and preparing for the trip back to Chandilar with it's cargo, Lilandra Neramani. She's being escorted by a contingent of the Imperial Guard lead by their Praetor, Gladiator. He's in a foul mood and nearly bites the brand new Smasher's head off when the new Imperial thanks the Praetor for recommending him for the Smasher position. It's not long before the Spirit of the Aerie is attacked and boarded by the crew of the Starjammer.

First to enter are the Starjammers themselves who attack the Shi'ar and Imperial Guard head on. The follow up are the Guardians of the Galaxy: Rocket Raccoon, Drax the Destroyer, Major Victory, and Groot. Rocket's got one hell of a gun.

That's a Xarthian Quantum Cannon and it's specifically designed to take out Strontians like Gladiator. With the muscle effectively neutralized, the Imperial Guard is left severly limited. The Guardians prove to be pretty awesome here, taking out the Guardians and leaving Lilandra's rescue to the Starjammers.

Unfortunately, just when Lilandra is freed, Gladiator realizes that Rocket Raccoon's gun isn't real. It's a telepathic assault from Marvel Girl and Rocket's just holding up a mop. Gladiator turns the tide of battle all on his own.

Gladiator confronts Lilandra, so recently freed but now back where she started. She questions where Gladiator's loyalty lies. Is it with the ruler of the Shi'ar or with the Shi'ar themselves? Because if it is with the Shi'ar, Vulcan is very, very bad for the future of the Empire. The brand new Smasher is ordering the Shi'ar to sieze the prisoners and execute them per Emperor Vulcan's orders. He even confronts Gladiator on his hesitation and Gladiator... well, he doesn't bite his head off.

Everyone looks at Gladiator, horrified as the Praetor of the Imperial Guard declares his loyalty to Lilandra. Creepy!

natr3.jpgNew Avengers: The Reunion #3
Writer: Jim McCann
Penciler: David López

So last issue we learned that Bobbi Morse was going to divorce Clint Barton but was replaced with a Skrull before that was able to happen. The Skrull stayed married before eventually dying. So, not only are Clint and Bobbi officially not married, she's not really that interested in continuing a relationship.

This is probably not the kind of info you want to recieve before going on a spy mission but Clint's not really a spy. Bobbi's obviously out of practice, to since everything she's wearing basically says "hey, I'm Mockingbird and this guy next to me is Clint Barton." Well, except the black wig and glasses. That just says "I'm the Baroness." The spy mission is to enter the Aljafería Palace in Zaragaza, Spain disguised as co-workers from Rand Industries and search out a dirty bomb set by AIM before it explodes and kills the top members of the scientific community also assembled there. The bomb is also set up in an area where it will cause maximum damage as the fallout will spread throughout the area, killing millions.

Clint wonders why he's sporting a cane. Bobbie answers that pretty much every part of their wardrobe is a weapon of some sort. That'll be pretty important when this entire mission goes FUBAR.

The two... "enjoy" the party while Clint tries to discuss their relationship. He tells her that he saw her everywhere and asks Bobbi if she did the same. She says she saw him everywhere. We'll get to that later. The one thing they aren't seeing is top scientists. This place is full of people but none of them are the top minds in their field. Mockingbird asks a lady if she's seen them but she's not even interested. She then goes to her agent, Twitchy, to see what he knows and, yes, he's been listening in on this whole deal and trying to ignore the lover's spat.

Bobbi asks Twitchy to run checks on everyone she's seen on her glasses and try to match them to the scientists that SHOULD be there. She then makes another sweep of the room while Clint tries to sway Twitchy to his side of the argument. Just then, Mockingbird sees a former teacher, Doctor Timothy Miner. He's looking panicked and a little strong armed by two goons. Just as they ID him, he's led out of the ballroom.

Clint and Bobbi try tailing Miner but lose track of him pretty quickly. They enter part of the palace that isn't being used and where Twitchy can't transmit. Their support is now cut off.

Clint smells something that stinks about this whole thing and tries to convince Bobbi that this isn't what they think it is. Rube Goldberg Effect. "Complex series of events designed to achieve a simple outcome." Suddenly, we're into the plot of Die Hard. AIM is actually abducting scientists before blowing up the building with the dirty bomb to make it LOOK like they just killed the best in their field. Just then, Bobbi passes out.

And wakes up in a flashback. She's waking up at the West Coast Avengers Compound as his husband, Hawkeye is making burgers and Tigra is making LOLCats jokes that... really shouldn't exist during the flashback. Now, Bobbi came back to the West Coast to divorce Clint but now everything's all off. It's like they're back together and Tigra is trying to make sure they stay together even though she should know that they were going to break up. Someone is trying way too hard to keep her with Clint and it turns out this is all post abduction stuff. These are all Skrulls.

When Bobbi finds out, she attacks the Tigra and Hawkeye Skrulls before escaping and finding herself on an alien world. She really should have killed the Hawkeye Skrull because he starts tracking her down. He stays just close enough to leave hints (arrows) to make her know that he's out there. So she basically spent her entire time off planet being tracked by a dude that looked like Clint Barton. That would make her a lot colder to the real guy than ever.

Eventually, Bobbi disappears and Skrull Hawkeye loses track of him. She eventually takes the place of a Mockingbird Skrull pre-invasion and learns lots of foreign and alien languages. She eventually makes a move to escape the planet and falls right into a trap set by Skrull Hawkeye.

Fortunately, Skrull Hawkeye is in some twisted love thing with Mockingbird and doesn't even have the sense to shackle her up. He talks about the love the real Clint had for her and how he fell apart on her "death." That just riles her up to the point of attacking the Skrull and killing him this time. She shouts "You are NOT Clint!" the entire time and, after the kill, is taken out by another Skrull and set up for her return to earth during the Skrull Invasion.

With the flashback over, Bobbi wakes up to the real Clint Barton. He tries another play at reconnecting with his ex-wife, this time playing the "the Skrull you really thought she was you and she forgave me. Does that mean you would have forgiven me?" card. Bobbi is freed from that question by finding the bomb. Or a bomb, at least. They here screaming from another room just as Clint starts figuring out exactly what's going down. Unfortunately, Bobbi's so focused on finding the scientist hostages that she's not listening. Clint thinks that AIM is smuggling the hostages out on on the roof and these small bombs lead down to form a chain reaction to set off the main thing.

Suddenly, the room explodes as the bomb goes off. Bobbi stumbles away from the wreckage but Clint is no where to be found. What IS to be found is Monica Rappaccini, AIM's Scientist Supreme. Rappaccini is all about talking but that's not on Mockingbird's agenda. She all about the kill.

aoa4.jpgAgents of Atlas #4
Writer: Jeff Parker
Pencilers: Gabriel Hardman & Clayton Henry

Like the last two issues, this one has two stories going down: One in 1958 and one in the present. I've separated them out in the last two issues but, this time, they intersect so I'll have to try my best to relate the story in bits.

We left our 1958 team in another dimension that they were able to enter by looking into their red triangles. The scene they enter on is a long ended battle with skeletal warriors still wearing rusting armor. This isn't their final destination, though. This is just a gatway to get to where they're going. When Marvel Boy fires his light through his triangle, it shows a bunch of gateways to other places. One gate is triangle shaped and, since their symbols are triangle shaped, they figure that's where they're headed.

They rush through the gate to find more of those soldiers in thier funky costumes with the red stars on their chest. Soviets! They've got Suwan tied to a tree. The battle is quick and easy. Suwan is rescued and tells Jimmy Woo exactly what's going on. These Soviets contracted the use of Yellow Claw's gateways in order to get a hold of a specific package. Suwan was assigned as an overseer but decided to use the gates to visit Jimmy.

The Agents are still hosting Kit Dekum, the fledgling astronaut from Edwards Air Force Base. He finds a speciall equipped MiG that gets him all excited while the Agents find what the Soviets were stealing from the FBI. It's the cryogenically frozen bodies of 50's Cap and Bucky.

Which jumps us into the present where Jimmy, Ken, and M-11 are facing off against James Barnes. Captain America. The three Agents are stuck in a helicopter dangling from a bridge and only M-11's grasp on the side of the bridge is keeping the chopper from falling. Cap takes his shield and crashes it into M-11's hands causing the robot to lose it's grip and the copter continues it's descent. Bucky's not about to leave it at that, though. He follows the helicopter down, catches up with it, and continues the fight in freefall.

Jimmy gets a telepathic contact through to Bob Grayson who is resting after the ordeal of psi-scanning Osborn and Sentry last issue. Looks like he's not going to get any rest today. Ken uses his gorilla strength to knock Captain America from the copter and the Agents quickly flee the falling craft themselves. Bob destroys the helicopter from his flying saucer and then everyone is transported aboard. Including Cap.

Back in 1958, the Agents are recapturing the bodies of 50's Cap and Bucky. Kit is getting ready to fly that MiG back to Edwards and Marvel Boy finds that the jet is equipped with it's own portal generator built off Yellow Claw's designs. The Soviets thought that Suwan was going to report it back to her father and that's why they kidnapped her. If you've been paying attention to this storyline, you can probably see where it's going but only Marvel Boy is getting an inkling after seeing that the portal generator is a circle, triangle, and circle connected by a straight line. Before he can figure it all out, the Soviets begin carpet bombing the area. Everyone rushes to the portal.

Kit Dekum gets the MiG airborne over Marvel Boy's protests and flies it through the portal.

Back in the present again: M-11 has Captain America secure but, since they know Steve Rogers is dead, the Agents have no clue who this guy is. Bob Grayson attempts a psi-scan but, in his present condition, he passes out during it. That leads to a much less controlled telepathic experience where Jimmy and Ken find themselves... well, take a look.

It's not long before they're attacked by Cap and Bucky and we relive some of the events of Cap's own title through the visions of a crazy dream. Jimmy becomes the Red Skull and shoots Cap as Bucky becomes the Winter Soldier and buries Steve Rogers in the snow. That gives them the evidence they need to discover that this Captain America is Bucky. They still don't know that they cyrogenically frozen Cap and Bucky weren't the actual Cap and Bucky, but that doesn't really matter to the story.

This is actually where our storylines start crossing over as Jimmy and Ken find themselves watching the tail end of their 1958 adventure. They see their younger selves in the red world amd watch Ken in his MiG fly above them. They watch as Marvel Boy figures out that the MiG flying above Edwards is the one that Kit flew away from Russia. It just entered a portal that transfered it through time and, through a flaw in it's design, is quickly transporting through portals in this world so that they can't catch him. Kit also doesn't have his own triangle and is being effected by the radiation from this world. That's causing his skin to go transparent.

The Agents rush through to the real world in order to catch Kit on the other side. Suwan doesn't go with them. She goes back to report to her father.

Present day Jimmy and Ken watch this whole thing and wonder why they're viewing a scene from their own past. Jimmy's figured out it's coming from Bob's headband but still doesn't know shy THIS particular mission. Bob answers them. He was thinking about links between time and space. Temugin was using a transporter based on the triangles they used on this mission. More than that, those triangles are in fact their dragon friend, Mr. Lao's scales. Lao's got his own agenda going and he's someone to keep an eye on.

All this time, Bob is imagining himself as a Uranian which means he looks sort of liquidy with rocks and bits floating around inside him. He's all kinds of ick. Jimmy and Ken convince him to remove his headband and wake up. That ends the psi-memory thing. With that, they drop off an unconscious Captain America with a few memories to set up a future engagement.

In 1958, Jimmy and his super-heroes race to Edwards Air Force Base to rescue Kit. Only they arrive too late. Kit Dekum is shot out of the sky. Kit's death spirals to the end of Jimmy Woo's Department Zero. They aren't able to find out if the two they rescued from the Soviets were the real Cap and Bucky or not. The red triangles are confiscated while Hoover still demands Marvel Boy figure out how the portals work. It does not look good for Jimmy and his buddies.

And one more time back in the present, Cap assembles his Avengers to work on that lead that Bob left in his mind.

iim13.jpgThe Invincible Iron Man #13
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Salvador Larroca

Hammer has found the remains of Tony's underwater suit... or at least the helmet bit. It looks like Stark has left the water to Namor and joined the rest of us on land.

Specifically, Tony finds himself in Bayeux, France at a Tech Fair scrounging for parts to make the Iron Man suit more user friendly. Stark is losing his mind due to attempts at keeping the Super Hero Registration Files out of Norman Osborn's grubby little hands. The files were stored safely in his Extremis enhanced gray matter and could only be accessed by hooking himself up by repulsor tubes to a computer after getting proper clearance to look at them (and, no, Tony didn't peak). The problem became that Tony didn't trust that info in Osborn's hands so he had to erase it from his brain. The only way to do that was to erase everything else along with it. The codes have been entered. His mind is slowly being wiped clean. He just needs to stay out of HAMMER hands long enough for the process to complete itself.

Being Tony, he obviously has a plan to not go brain dead once this is all over. We just aren't being privy to that yet. Until then, he still needs a working suit of armor to fly around in and evade any HAMMER pursuit. That suit will need to be much more simple to operate than his current mega-hi-tech suits have been. Yeah, this is leading to the damn Classic Armor that always has to show up when we dance back in time to former suits (I wouldn't be so upset except it looks like they're skipping right past the Modern Classic and, my favorite, Silver Centurion Armors to get to the Classic more quickly).

So, Tech Fair. The problem with being wanted and hanging out with people that are in your field is that, even after shaving off your 'stache, people are going to recognize you and one of those dudes is gonna turn you in. That's what happens here and it's pretty much what Tony expected to happen. He confronts the guy that just sold him out and then makes tracks.

At Futurepharm, the Controller has planted a control disc on Maria Hill, the former Director and Deputy Director of SHIELD. You'd think this was game over but that's not what actually happens. Turns out that Maria Hill is full of awesome. She's able to draw on past memories of jerks in her life (yes, Fury and Stark are there) that have talked down to her and tried to boss her around. It's enough to free her from the Controller's disc and keep her adventure going.

One more cast member to catch up with. Pepper Potts. Last issue she was able to give her new Pink Ranger Armor a complete workout and even rescued a passenger jet from crashing. She was arrested for that business and now she's headed to Osborn for a talk while having lots of weaponry pointed in her direction.

Pepper's chained up while Norman and Victoria Hand talk to her through two way monitors. This is, apparently, an informal chat. Except for the chains and stuff. HAMMER guys just like to point weapons at people. You get used to it. Norman tries his whole, "you're in a warsuit OMG" thing but Pepper quickly points out that everyone is already on the same page about the Pink Ranger suit. It's a search and rescue deal. No weapons. Norman knows that. Ozzy would really like to take a look at it but, as it happens, the AI for the suit, JARVIS, has shut down. Pepper's not able to take the suit off. Let's hope she can hold it for a few hours.

It's about time for Norman to lay down the threats. He wants Tony Stark and isn't shy about torture and using Pepper's friends and family against her. Pepper really doesn't know a lot about where Tony currently is so she just tells Osborn everything she knows. Stark put her in charge of Stark Enterprises then left. Pepper tried to make Tony turn himself in but, seeing how Osborn treats informal chats, she's seen the light. She now fully supports Stark running away from this bastard and keeping that precious SHRA info away from him.

Back in France, Tony is being pursued by the villain known as Shockwave. Outside of the US, Norman has no jurisdiction. Instead of letting Stark go, he's hired the Hood's criminal syndicate to chase down the former SHIELD Director. Shockwave's the first on the scene and is appropriately attired in his own suit of armor. Tony is still armorless but is at least wearing a form of boot jet to blast from building to building while commenting on how crappy Shockwave's suit is.

Still, Shockwave might not be wearing a suit as incredible as the Iron Man armor but he's still wearing equipment that'll outmatch a guy without any. Shockwave eventually corners Tony and even gets him to seemingly beg for his life. This just makes Shockwave all the happier. Before the villain can deal a killing strike, Tony is able to get a grip on Shockwave's leg and deliver an electifying shock through his hand blasters (strapped straight to his hands-- no gauntlets). Tony then keeps on running.

Back at Futurepharm, Maria Hill has gotten that control disc off and is ready to kick some @$$. Unfortunately, she's surrounded by the Controller's minions: regular people forced to do his bidding. The Controller makes a tactical error, however, and decides to deal with Hill personally. She's too quick for him to catch and, escaping, Hill starts unhooking tubes. It's enough to wake at least a portion of the crowd up and Maria is able to keep running... it's sort of a theme in this book.

Back to Pepper. She's been fully cooperating with Norman Osborn and there's little else she can see doing for him. Her suit is registered and the specs are apparently available for Osborn to look over. Osborn mentions that she's actually prefectly legal in every way. She was part of the Initiative and was in charge of California's team, The Order. Registered up and everything. Still, Osborn wants as much as he can get. He wants that Repulsor Unit in her chest. That's more that Pepper's willing to give and it's more than Ozzy has the right to take.

So Pepper is given a big list of rules that pretty much run down to "don't ever be a hero or we'll take that thing out of you." He's taken from the room by Ms. Hand who has discovered something happening in Texas (which is where Futurepharm is located if you're following plot threads).

At Futurepharm, Maria has broken away from the crowd and is finally completing her mission. She was to find a particular hard drive at this facility and deliver it to Captain America. There are tons of HD's around but, using Tony's instructions, she's able to locate the right one and escape the facility. She's about ready to pass out at this point and is suffering from a neck wound where she tore off the Controller's control disc. She's able to make it to her truck and drive off, making plans to call in the authorities when she's gotten enough distance away in order to tell them about what's going on at Futurepharm.

The Hood is telling Norman how his agent Shockwave totally failed at capturing Tony Stark. Norman is looking to wrap up this affair and he believes that Madam Masque is the way to do it. He calls for her to make a visit to Avengers Tower to discuss this situation. Norman has something to show her. HAMMER has finally got a system together that can locate the Iron Man Armories that are still online out there. These will be the places that Tony will head to in order to take them off the board. Norman doesn't want one of the Hood's nobodies botching a play at these places. He would rather that Madam Masque took a personal interest in them. She's in agreement.

Back in France, Tony's working on a... certain suit of armor in an undisclosed location.

Damn you, Classic Armor. Anyway, he's about to take a turn for the worse as his brain wipe moves into full effect and he has something akin to a seizure.

Back in the USA, JARVIS has come back online and Pepper Potts has made a decision. She's going to find Tony Stark. She flies off the roof and does her best super hero impression. Something tells me that's exactly what Norman wants her to do... but maybe I'm expecting the Green Goblin to be more calculating than he actually is.

dp10.jpgDeadpool #10
Writer: Daniel Way
Penciler: Paco Medina

Norman Osborn is about to make a television appearance and go through the whole interview schtick. The interviewer is pretty excited about getting this exclusive but some of the wind is let out of her sails when Osborn claims that he won't answer the questions that her studio submitted to him. He'll only answer questions that he has brought with him. They two stair down the countdown to roll camera and then our interviewer goes with his questions. They don't even get through the first question before something in the background so distracts the studio workers that they panic it up right on set. Osborn misses the entire event because, whatever it is, it happened right behind him. He just catches the aftermath and then demands to know what the hell is going on.

They reroll the tape for him and he discovers that Deadpool teleported in right behind him with a sign and a gun. The sign reads "RESPAWN LOL" and it's awesome. In Magnum Opus, Osborn demands that Wade's head get chopped off. Headsman did just that in his presence. DP is still alive and taunting him.

Osborn decides to take this to his A Team. Still, this isn't a job for the whole team. This is a job for the Dark Avengers' Hawkeye. AKA Bullseye.

It's hard for a merc to get work in this world and Deadpool has resorted to listing his skills on Craigslist. That leads to the events you'll see here.

A well-to-do dude is being delivered a pizza he never ordered. After the guy and the pizza kid argue it out, the well-to-do dude agrees to take the thing but insists he never ordered it. In fact, Wade Wilson did all the ordering. He pulls the pizza guy in the room at gun point and proceeds to eat the pizza while his two hostages stand against the wall. He's here to kill someone but it's not the owner of the house. It's the pizza guy.

Why? Not that I need to explain this all out but the pizza guy spread a totally untrue rumor out about a girl back in high school that has haunted that girl to this day. We're not actually given the rumor but the well to do guy is and, once he hears it, he wants the pizza guy just as dead. So it's a very bad, justifiable reason to kill someone, apparently. The pizza guy tries arguing but Deadpool's not here to debate. He's here to fulfill a contract and he does just that.

The well to do guy loses his lunch over the whole deal. It's not like people get their heads blown off right in front of you everyday. He's left with a killer in his house and he does the only logical thing. He tells Deadpool that it's ok to rob him a bit. Wade isn't usually the robbing type but he's not exactly rolling in cash and this contract killing only scored him $500. I'm betting he used the money he stole from Osborn to pay off Taskmaster and restock his arsenal. He agrees to rob the well to do guy... he just lets the guy do all the work.

While the well to do guy is robbing himself for Deadpool, DP watches TV. What he sees is part of Osborn's smear campaign to make him a very wanted man in the eyes of the public. Remember when Wade sided with the Skrulls in order to gain access to a ship and find a way to kill the Skrull Queen? Well he "joined" them in a baseball stadium and one of the cameras within caught the whole thing. Wade is being painted as a traitor to the human race. This will not help his Craigslist opportunities.

Wade needs to go kill people now, so he's done letting the well to do guy rob this place for him. He shouts this all out but doesn't get an answer and his curiousity gets the better of him. He finds the well to do guy upstairs with an arrow in his gut. Wade makes a joke about how committing suicide with a bow and arrow is a stupid way to go but he already knows that Hawkeye is in the room.

Hawkeye's initial shot misses because of Wade's teleporter. After that, the dance is on. It's a great fight involving gunplay and grenades. Eventually, Deadpool steals away Hawkeye's bow and mask while Hawkeye ends up with DP's gun.

Now, Wade has met Bullseye before, but he goes through a song and dance about figuring out who's under the Hawkeye mask before Bullseye figures out that the gun he stole is out of bullets. The fight is now hand to hand and, in that arena, Deadpool's got the advantage. There are still some pointy weapons hanging about, though. See those arrows in Bullseye's possession? He throws one out and we watch as it ricochets back and drives right into Wade's head.

Man, it's a good thing the dude has a healing factor that allows him to recover from stuff like this...

nm38.jpgNew Mutants #38
Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Rick Leonardi

This issue opens with a huge dream sequence where the New Mutants fight it out with Sentinels and Hellions. It's a fun little battle where the kids are ultimately victorious. In the end, Magneto shows up (at this point in time, Magnus is the New Mutants' professor) and tells them all that they've had a successful day. He then sends them to bed which turns out to be a graveyard. They all bury themselves in the ground and take a dirt nap.

This is, apparently, a shared dream. Magneto actually picked up on the kids dream and is suffering some of the effects himself. It certainly isn't leading to a good night's sleep for anyone. Sharon Friedlander (one of two characters that show up around this time in New Mutants who have been given Native American bodies from an incident involving the Demon Bear) is a bit concerned with Mags and his students and how they've lost all will to live. The kids file into the dining room to... well, sit down and not eat anything. They aren't hungry but they all sit down and go through their usual motions. Tom Corsi (the other character brought to Xavier's care of Demon Bear incident) enters and asks Magma for help clearing the driveway of snow when she has time. Magma says she'll help but these kids just lack any spirit whatsoever.

Everyone really wishes Charles Xavier was here to solve this problem.

Magneto is facing his first test as the New Mutants' teacher and is not succeeding. Late into the night he mopes about the mansion drinking liquor and wondering why the hell he ever thought he could fill Xavier's shoes. He's about to get an alternative with the appearance of the White Queen in his home. It's all psi-imaging, but Emma Frost seems all too relaxed by this visit. All the way at the Massachusettes Academy, she's been picking up these dreams that the New Mutants are having and is a bit concerned. She's also seeing an opening she can fill up and is swooping in to try her hand. She offers to take the Mutants off Mags' hands and handle the psychic healing that the kids seem to need. Magnus demands she leaves but her offer is incredibly tempting.

So why are the Mutants sharing this dream? We're getting there. First, we need Cannonball to sleep his way through a training program where he just doesn't seem to care. He goes through the motions but is pretty much in the not caring section. Magnus barely keeps his anger in check, metes out some discipline, and then wishes Xavier were here.

Xavier, of course, is a cure-all.

So, what the monkey is going down? Well, The New Mutants got involved in Secret Wars II. That's all you really need to know. No one was happy to be involved in Secret Wars II. They also got killed and resurrected... worst, they REMEMBER getting killed and resurrected. Kids aren't supposed to go through that. Secret Wars II scars lives.

Magneto leaves the Danger Room to disrupt Stevie Hunter's dance class (the kids are, again, just going through the motions). Stevie isn't happy about Mags bossing her class around and it doesn't solve anything.

Meanwhile, Danielle Moonstar is dealing with this depression in her own way.

Dani's a valkyrie because the New Mutant's history is incredibly insane. Magma's a fake Roman. Warlock's a mutant alien mechanical life form. 38 issues in and a lot of crazy stuff has happened. Take that frog talking to Dani and giving her inner strength in order to beat back her depression. That's actually Thor. Like I said: Insane stuff happens in New Mutants. Frog Thor hops away and Moonstar is the first New Mutant to actually get her act back together.

The rest of the students are not faring as well even after Magneto forces them to attend a high school social in Salem. They just seem like the snobbish outsiders that everyone already thinks they are. Having a heart to heart with a local teacher, Magneto beginning to believe that he's just not able to solve these kids' problem.

The next day, Magnus meets with the parents of Doug Ramsey. They've noticed his recent change in attitude and their confidence in Magneto (who's playing the brother of Charles Xavier) is waning. They don't know who this dude is and they are pretty sure he isn't half the teacher that Charles was. Mostly, they just want their kid to be happy and that's something he certainly isn't.

As if being involved in Secret Wars II wasn't enough, it turns out that the Hellion, Empath, is exacerbating the problem. He plays with emotion and it looks like he's using that ability to increase the Mutants' melancholy and infinite sadness. When Tom and Sharon encounter him spying on the mansion, he makes them love each other... to death! OK. Not really death. But they are certainly too busy sucking face to be any threat to Empath.

In the end, Magneto announces to his students that he is closing down Xavier's and handing his students over to Emma Frost. Hopefully, their moods will be lifted by her psychic intervention. The kids don't even care... except for Moonstar. Like I said, her god frog broke her out of her depression and she's on her way to getting back to normal. She's upset about the school closing and certainly won't join the Hellions. She's the only one.

nm39.jpgNew Mutants #39
Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Keith Pollard

Emma Frost welcomes her new students to the prestigious Massachusettes Academy. The MA isn't just made up of mutants like Xavier's. It's mostly filled with regular kids from very influential families. The Hellions are just one part of the Academy and they are a secret part. The rest of the kids aren't aware that the Hellions are mutants.

So far, Emma hasn't made a dent into the New Mutants' moods. The kids are perfectly well behaved but they are also kind of depressing to watch. Two Hellions, T-Bird and Jetsteam, welcome Sam Guthrie and Doug Ramsey to the Academy and are a little wigged out that the two are talking about dying... wait a second.... The New Mutants are goths! You can't tell by the way they dress because they're secret goths. They need another book just to cover this very important aspect of their character. Anyway, they were involved in Secret Wars II. You'd be a secret goth too.

While the male New Mutants get a nice welcome, the female New Mutants get Empath. He's rarely nice and really shouldn't be in the women's locker room. He finds that his power to effect their emotions has little to no effect before being punished by Magik for being in the women's locker room. The female Hellions finish the punishment by kicking him out of the room where he meets the White Queen for even more punishment.

With her Hellion group increased greatly, she decides it's time to take a new class photo. You'll notice that the New Mutants are the ones not smiling and that there's another missing New Mutant from the group. Warlock. Looks like he decided to remain at Xavier's as well.

Speaking of Xavier's, let's go back there to watch Magneto mope some more. He's looking at a class photo of his former students and seeing them all happy. It's enough to make a man whine about how much of a failure he is at teaching.

In another part of the mansion, Danielle Moonstar is packing up her things for a trip home. Before she goes, she uses her fear powers on herself and gets an image of her and the New Mutants training in the Danger Room. It's not especially scary but it's also not especially real. It's an idealized version of reality and, according to Moonstar, it's how life might have been if she and her friends had never met the Beyonder and been involved in the damn Secret Wars II.

At the Massachusettes Academy, the White Queen is finally working on healing the New Mutants from their melancholy behaviors. She's working on her last student, Rahne, and using her psi powers like a scalpel to remove all the pain and suffering caused by... that damn crossover. It's such an effort that it's taken her days to heal everyone. Still, the results look pretty good. Rahne rises from her resting place pretty happy and seemingly back to normal. Emma pats herself on the back for a job well done.

Flashing back to Xavier's, Dani's saying goodbye to Professor Magnus.

Dani's pretty pissed off that Mags gave his students, her friends, over to the Hellfire Club. She got through her depression with the help of a magic frog. She's certain that, had Magneto tried just a little harder (or been a frog), her friends would have gotten over their blahs and gotten back to normal. Magneto takes this to heart, pours himself another drink, and mopes around the place until Dani leaves. Before she goes, she reminds us all of the time when her and Illyana transported a year into the future to find the New Mutants and Hellions living together in perfect harmony. She thought they'd erased that moment but, look here. It's a year later and look where the New Mutants are.

Magneto has finished off his bottle and angrily smashes it against Xavier's walls. He's a nemesis to be feared with his mighty alcoholism.

Dani says good bye to Stevie Hunter and Warlock and everyone takes a moment to notice that Tom Corsi and Sharon Friedlander are nowhere to be seen and then immediately stop caring about their welfare. Dani mounts her noble flying steed, Brightwind, and flies off to her reservation.

Back at the MA, it turns out the New Mutants might be in better moods but the underlying problem is still there. They're still having terrible dreams. It's damn hard to exorcise being involved in Secret Wars II (and, yes, I'm gonna keep on drilling into you all how TERRIBLE Secret Wars II was). Rahne wakes up from a nightmare just in time to back hand the Hellion, Catseye, across the room. Catseye had awoken and was trying to comfort the New Mutant. Rahne appologizes but it's no big to the catimorph. Just expect a back hand to come your way when you least expect it.

The rest of the Hellions gather in Rahne's room to find out what happened. As Catseye and Wolfsbane change to animal forms to play in the snow, Cannonball reveals to us that he's also still having nightmares. Problem not solved. Illyana makes an appearance. It turns out she's been spending most of her time in Limbo and hasn't had that many bad dreams simply because she hasn't allowed herself to sleep.

Emma Frost is psychically looking on all of this and realizes that she hasn't cured them. There's something still working on them. While the White Queen looks very sinister in these shots, you can also tell she actually wants to solve the issue. Maybe not just for the kids' benefit but it is a concern of her's.

Magneto pretty much has Xavier's all to himself now. He's taking advantage of the pool quite a bit. While showering off the chloryn, he's given a surprise visit by Tom and Sharon who have loved each other so much that they went out and got mohawks and piercings while being scantily clad in leather... because that's what happens when you love too much. The two are pretty messed up. Mags brings them down to the infirmary where they tell Magneto all about what Empath did to them and how he was probably involved in whatever was going down with the New Mutants.

Mags is ticked off. Now he's certain it wasn't just his crappy teaching skills that prevented his students from improving. Someone else was helping him be a crappy teacher. He's out for revenge against Emma Frost and is going to try his best to get his students back.

Emma, being a psychic, knows that Mags is now on his way to retrieve the New Mutants and to kick her @$$. She'll need someone to stop him but who? She decides against calling in the rest of the Hellfire Club inner circle and opts to send in the authorities. Looks like the Avengers are on their way!

nm40.jpgNew Mutants #40
Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Jackson Guice

At Avengers Mansion, the current Avengers team (Iron Patri... oh wait. I mean: Wasp, Hercules, Black Knight, and Captain America) are being woken up to answer a desperate call for help. Sheriff Beatty from Massachusettes have received calls from the Massachusettes Academy telling him that the international terrorist, Magneto, is making a play for the school. Since the Sheriff doesn't have the firepower to take down Mags, he's looking for some assistance.

Avengers Assemble.

Now, Magneto has been judged not guilty by the World Court but, when a threat is made on a private school, that threat is taken seriously. The Avengers gather up the remaining members (Namor and Captain Marvel-- the second one with light powers) and quinjet their way to Massachusettes.

At that private school in Massachusettes, a few students are engaging in some early morning training in the war room. Cannonball and Jetstream are racing around the place while Magma makes flaming rings for them to fly through. It's a rematch of sorts and, this time, Sam comes out the loser to the dude who's power is that he's a cyborg with a jet pack. It still doesn't make sense to me. Jetstream tries to claim his reward-- a kiss from Magma-- but the New Mutant won't turn off her powers in order for him to get that reward. This is all interrupted when the White Queen telepathically contacts the three wondering what the hell they're doing up this early. Turns out the New Mutants aren't really all about sleeping with all the nightmares they're having. Jetstream joined them out of concern and is quick to bring this all up to Ms. Frost.

It looks like the New Mutants may be happy on the outside but suffering inside. The nightmares of Secret Wars II won't go away and it's starting to affect them physically. They're weaker. Cannonball just lost a contest against the guy with the freaking jetpack powers. Things are getting bad. Much like Mags two issues ago, Emma doesn't know what to do next. She's probably not going to mope around wishing Charles Xavier was back, though.

Speaking of Magneto, he's on his way to Massachusettes right now. He's actually riding inside Warlock who's doing his best Blackbird immitation. Both Mags and Warlock are concerned about the state they'll find the New Mutants in. They've been in the White Queen's clutches for quite a while at this point. They could be totally mind wiped by now. This revery is broken by the appearance of the Mighty Avengers.

Not knowing that Magneto's ride is actually a living being, Hercules smashes his mace full bore into it. Warlock screams and shatters, falling like mechanical spaghetti to the earth below. Magneto is able to slow his landing with his powers of magnetism. He quickly locates his mechanical friend to find out if Warlock is ok. He's not, really, but he's still alive.

It's then all about the battle. Since Magneto is a good guy at the time, he's not looking to end this fight permanently. He's just trying to not get captured by the Avengers. Hercules is the biggest threat and it's a small time before the greek god bear hugs the master of magnetism into submission.

While temporarily captured, Magnus learns that it was Emma Frost that sicced the Avengers on him. Now, like I said, Mags is a good guy. He was cleared by the World Court. The Avengers are fighting alongside a former bad guy, Namor, and seem to have no problem with it. Magneto, however, they don't even bother asking him if he's innocent or not. They just assume. Cap tells Mags that that's because of WWII.... which is sort of a sore spot for the guy that lived in a concentration camp. Magneto breaks free from Herc's grip.

Magnus isn't hear to throw down. He's here to rescue his students and get a little payback for being deceived. Instead of following up and attacking the Avengers, he's makes his way into the forest. The Avengers follow and attack the former villain in groups. It's interesting to note that, even when Magneto could turn the tide of battle by injuring his opponents, he is merely trying submission moves and is taking for too much damage for the trouble.

Back at the Massachusettes Academy, Magma is getting an inkling that Magneto is coming for them. She's connected to the earth in strange, possibly fake Roman, ways. That connection tells her that a strong magnetic force is messing with the earth. Magik teleports to the scene to check it out.

She finds Warlock hurt and Avengers running around. She helps out her former teacher by teleporting Cap's shield away and then leaves the battle to report back to her friends.

The New Mutants learn that Magneto is being attacked by the Avengers and, after some debate, decide to do something about it. The Hellions warn against it but the Mutants' minds are made up.

Which is a good thing. Magneto's tactics aren't doing him any favors. He's not hurting anyone but himself and it's starting to cost him the battle.

Before the New Mutants arrive, Warlock tries to help his teacher but, in his weakened state, he starts to sap away their very lives. Magneto intervenes and uses a magnetic strike to stop the alien. Surrounded by the Avengers, he asks that he be able to restore his friend to health before they take him prisoner. Cap wants to know why the villain just saved their life and Magneto simply responds that he's on the path of the angels now.

Enter: The New Mutants! While Magneto begs for them to leave this battle alone, Illyana uses her powers to teleport everyone away. They also return Cap's shield. It seems like the whole team wouldn't have needed to return for Illyana to do the teleport thing but it was a sweet gesture on their part.

When Mags arrives at the Massachusettes Academy, he's no longer looking for vengeance. He simply wants to help his students get better. He and Ms. Frost strike a deal to help the New Mutants get over their problems. In a montage, they do just that... somehow. I'm betting it's through the power of love except no one's got mohawks, piercings, or leather outfits... yet.

The question becomes: where do the New Mutants go from here? Mags would love for them to return but they also owe Emma Frost a great deal for their recovery. In the end, the White Queen lets them go with her blessing, hoping to give the Mutants the impression that she is a good guy. It's a long term battle she's fighting.

Woo! That's it for now! Join me next time as I try desperately to catch up on my comics!

Until then: Who Do YOU Trust?

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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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