Tuesday, June 19, 2018 • Morning Edition • "For when you've got nowhere else to go."

Super Reads War of Kings and Dark Reign 51

Written by SuperginraiX on Sunday, June 21 2009 and posted in Features

badguy51.jpgGetting there!

Today, we check out War of Kings: Ascension #2, Dark Reign: Hawkeye #2, Dark Reign: Young Avengers #1, Secret Warriors #4, Black Panther #4, Savage She-Hulk #2, and Blast to the Past with The Avengers #1. Enjoy and spread the word!

Spoilers Ahead!


I'm still playing catch up, but I plan on accelerating very soon!

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

Let's check up on our friend, Darkhawk.

woka2.jpgWar of Kings: Ascension #2
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Penciler: Wellington Alves

Last issue, Chris Powell was forced into having his mind sublimated to make room for the true Darkhawk: Razor. This leaves Chris without a body and lots of other problems. Chief of those: The Fraternity of Raptors is totally evil.

While Chris is in his own limbo, Razor and Talon (the Raptor that helped remove Chris from the situation) are still hanging about in the Negative Zone. This happens only moments after Chris leaves the scene so the Raptors are still in Catastrophus's mobile fortress. They've got a mission to complete that goes beyond restoring Razor to form.

Having a human host is still affecting Razor's performance. He's not able to fully hear the Datasong yet and has to use Talon as a guide until his systems acclimate. First up is killing Catastrophus. This is performed with a double wing sweep attack that takes off the bug's head. That's not the end of this little trip, however.

The true target is the Cosmic Control Rod. Catastrophus was using it to keep Annihilus from regrowing to power. The Raptors remove the Cosmic Control Rod while not killing Annihilus, making sure that he knows that they spared him and, thus, gathering up future favors to act on. Before the two Raptors leave, Razor suddenly gets a hit from that anomoly still inside him. Chris Powell isn't gone yet.

He's somewhere else, apparently. Powell theorizes that he's ended up in the place where he summons his Darkhawk armor from: Null Space. While trying to count his anxiety away and only making it to three, Chris talks himself through the first issue. That's basically what we've already been over but it's a little deeper than that. In Darkhawk's series, he developed his own origin for the armor and that's proven to be entirely false. He's also been wearing bad guy clothes without knowing it. That's just embarrassing.

Chris thinks that he might be able to get back into his body by using the same techniques that allow him to shift to armored form. While that doesn't get him back to the Negative Zone, it does play havok on Razor. Razor's able to keep control but it pauses the Raptors on their mission until "the servants of the Source" are able to deal with this human menace.

Back in Null Space, Chris goes through a very red replaying of his origin issue (Darkhawk #1-- which we went over a couple months ago). We get the fun house scene, he and his brothers running away from gangsters, his first use of the Darkhawk amulet, and then we're thrust into something not from his memories. He's suddenly in space in the middle of a war. There are many Raptors in the sky and one of them turns out to be Razor. Razor flies right for Chris but, before there's a collision or the evil dude flies right through him, we get a scene change.

Chris needs some sort of spirit guide to help him make sense of what he's seeing. Who he chooses is his father. I'm not going to pretend to know what happened to his dad but, in issue one of his original series, his dad is a police officer who looked very much like he was taking money from the mob. He disappeared right after this was revealed and I really couldn't say if he actually appeared again. It's possible. I only have a couple Darkhawk issues in my collection. Needless to say, Dad doesn't show up in the two issue mini-series that preceded this series so he's either still out there or dead.

He's also in Chris's mind. Stealing his dudes.

Chris's dad explains that what he's seeing is visions from the armor's memories. It's stored all this stuff and Chris is getting shots of that now that he's stuck at the Null Source. Dad goes on to explain that, because of Chris's human biology, the Raptor doesn't work properly. It's driving him nuts. That madness is what formed his false origin for the armor. He was trying to make sense of the Datasong pouring through the suit and it kind of drove him mad.

Chris even went so far as to use another configuration of his armored suit as an evil villain named Evilhawk. In his memories of his past, Evilhawk was a villain that Darkhawk fought. In reality, Evilhawk was another place for his madness to reside when the Datasong was making him particularly crazy.

Or maybe not. You have to remember that Chris's dad isn't really here. This might not all be true but, knowing what we now know about the Fraternity of Raptors, it's probably closer to fact than his original series is showing to be.

This all explained, Chris's dad rips off his face to reveal the Razor armor. Chris freaks out and, in his panic, punches a crystal wall (because that's always a good idea) which shatters before him and causes him to fall through it. Powell lands on a huge leafless tree where blue crystals hang off like some type of seed. There are winged alien creatures here chanting, "Return! Return! Return!" Pretty certain that these guys are those servants of the Source that Razor was talking about earlier. They're all converging on Chris and they don't look like they're going to cook him dinner... but he might be dinner....

In the Negative Zone, Razor is feeling much better. The servants are taking care of Chris for the moment and the Raptor is ready to continue on their mission.

Since we saw the Raptors earlier in the book, they've made their way to Prison 42 which is currently in Blastaar's control. Talon has asked for an audience with the latest king of the Negative Zone and we join them as they are being brought to his presence.

The Raptors are looking for King Blastaar to join a side in the Kree/ Shi'ar War that's raging through the Positive Universe. Blastaar isn't really interested in being a puppet king again. Ronan gave him power in the Negative Zone in the first place and it's something that Blastaar has grown to resent. The Raptors tell Blastaar that they aren't looking to control him. They're looking to help him while he helps them. With that, they hand the King of the Negative Zone the Cosmic Control Rod. It looks like they've just bought themselves an army.

drh2.jpgDark Reign: Hawkeye #2
Writer: Andy Diggle
Penciler: Tom Raney

So how do you get out of a murder charge? If you're Hawkeye, the current Hawkeye, you do more murder.

He was just caught on camera after killing a bunch of would-be mugger/ rapists, then killing the victim, then going back to killing more would-be mugger/ rapists which all lead to sending an SUV off the side of a parking ramp into some oncoming police vehicles. They make a pretty fire.

The helicopter circling is filming the aftermath and, while they don't have any evidence that Hawkeye just killed a lot of people just because he felt like it, there's a lot of circumstantial evidence. Like a bunch of dead people lying around with arrows running through them.

Like I said, Hawkeye's going to have to kill more people. He starts with the camera man, putting an arrow through his eye while the dude's still filming. The reporter freaks out and shouts to the pilot to get the hell out of the area. While the helicopter's flying away, Hawkeye fires a grapple arrow through the bottom of the 'copter. It ends up stabbing through the pilot's leg before releasing it's hooks, pinning the pilot to his seat. Our villain swings on up to find a panicked reporter.

The reporter was trying to work his way into live coverage of this event but wasn't having much luck at that. Hawkeye would love to get that coverage but knows that it wouldn't play very well with his hero role. The reporter begs for his life before Hawkeye tosses him out of the chopper.

Which leaves the pilot. Hawkeye tries to be sporting and sets up an explosive tipped arrow just out of reach from the pilot. If he can disarm it by hitting the handy button on it's side, he lives. 30 seconds to big boom. Will our pilot make it in time? Well, he's pinned to his seat so the odds are against him. Hawkeye abandons helicopter as the pilot loses the contest for his life. The helicopter explodes and the remains strike the side of a nearby building.

It's about this point where our marksman realizes he'll need to call in for a clean up crew. Norman Osborn to the rescue!

At the news station, the footage shot by that now dead news crew is being reviewed. It didn't go on live but they've since lost feed with the helicopter and have heard reports of a chopper crash in the area. The manager makes the decision to air this footage right before HAMMER troops rush the studio.

You don't really want to live in an America where HAMMER has power. It's like a police state, really. The HAMMER agents confiscate everything and shut down the studio. They also tazer anyone who puts up a fuss. Once Director Osborn arrives, he makes the decision that anyone having seen this footage will need a mind wipe or, if that can't be arranged, they'll simply be detained indefinitely. The Avengers' name can't be sullied by this footage going public. They need to be untouchable.

The aftermath of this entire ordeal is another public appearance for Norman Osborn. He explains that Bullseye is responsible for all the carnage that happened the night before. Hawkeye actually saved everyone from even more violence at this assassins hands. Sure, Bullseye was fighting with the T-Bolts against the Skrulls just a few months ago but that's all forgotten. Jon Stewart probably shows some footage of all the connections between Bullseye and the Dark Avengers which gets quite a few laughs and all but, since this is the Osborn police state, the show probably never airs and Jon Stewart finds himself in Guantanamo before you know it.

I've seen this a hundred times.

There are some reporters who actually aren't all about this sort thing being thrown out there. One of those guys is Ben Urich of Frontline. He's actually checking up on the facts instead of regurgitating Osborn's talking points. Always a good habit when you're an investigative reporter. We find him at the NYPD Pathology Lab where he's trying to get a look at a the bodies from this horrible tragedy and finding that HAMMER's already covered that base and removed them. The pathologist gives him all the grizzly details, though. "Bullseye" used arrows to kill most of the victims and then carved the crosshairs into their foreheads. There was also a the victim that was stabbed through her eye with a pen. The helicopter is rumored to have exploded in the air before it crashed but those bodies never made it to the morgue. HAMMER had them all before they could be retrieved.

So why would Bullseye use arrows? Why is HAMMER showing such interest? Urich's got lots of questions and this certainly isn't an open and shut case. Add to that the phone call he's getting on his cell right now. It's from a mysterious inside man who's freaked out about all the lives that are being taken. You've got to remember that the Avengers are supposed to be protecting the United States. They seem to be doing a great deal of damage at the same time. This mysterious insider wants to stop that and Ben Urich is going to be his instrument of change.

Back at Avengers Tower, Bullseye isn't getting chewed out. Osborn has reassessed the situation and realized that Bullseye is a killer and should be allowed to be one in a controlled manner. As such, his next mission is all about killing a lot of dudes. Remember that Hulk Buster attack last issue? HAMMER has discovered who's behind that. It's a group called PTSF. Peace Through Superior Firepower. They've found where this group is hanging out and Osborn sends Bullseye in (as Hawkeye) to kill everyone.

There are some threats given to what'll happen if this isn't a successful mission which obviously upsets our archer.

Hawkeye shows up at PTSF's base of operations to find that everyone is already dead. Someone got here before him and did the job, making sure to carve bullseyes into everyone's forehead before they left... except they haven't actually left yet.

That's right, it's Bullseye. Odd, huh? Looks like our anti-hero is more nuts that... well... a guy that has already gone on a killing spree in this miniseries. The Bullseye hanging out and taunting Hawkeye is a figment of his imagination and disappears when arrows are fired in the figment's direction. Still the taunting gets to Hawkeye so much that he follows the figment through a door and right into the sky. Hawkeye is falling from a skyscraper.

drya1.jpgDark Reign: Young Avengers #1
Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Mark Brooks

So, who ARE the New Young Avengers?

They're the Young Masters of Evil.

No, seriously. This isn't even hidden. The title of this issue is Young Masters. What do you think they are?

The new team is composed of The Melter, The Enchantress, The Executioner (all of which have original versions that were charter members of the Masters of Evil), Coat of Arms (like Black Knight-- also a charter member of the MoE), Egghead (kind of an amalgam of influences like Ultron, Egghead, and the Radioactive Man), and Big Zero (Baron Zemo, Power Man). I'm probably missing some of the influences and getting some messed up but that's what I'm seeing. So, these are the Young Masters of Evil. They just think they're Young Avengers at this point.

Our story starts out with them trying to stop a liquor store robbery which goes completely wrong VERY quickly. The robbers open fire and pay some serious consequences for their actions. The bullets, however, never hit their targets. Melter melts most of them while the Enchantress magics away the rest. After that, we get to watch the robbers get killed off in interesting ways while the Melter tries desperately to control his team. He also melts the sidewalk which endangers the subway terminal below.

One robber tries surrendering but that's not going to save him. Coat of Arms makes it clear that he can't be conscious for a long time and has Egghead put him into a coma for thirty years while she films the whole thing.

By this point the police are on their way and the Young Masters book by means of a magic teleportation, courtesy of the Enchantress. They 'port their way to a bar where the Enchantress is able to put a spell on the bartender that not only doesn't get them carded but also gets them free drinks.

Both here and when they finally get back to their hideout (The Invisible Manor in Central Park) they're going over their latest "scene." It turns out that Coat of Arms has assembled this team as, basically, a performance art piece. There are three main teams of Avengers, after all. No one really knows who the "real" team is. Well, here's a team of Young Avengers where they aren't exactly heroes and their actions are nothing if not questionable. They keep using catch phrases associated with teams like the Avengers and X-Men to describe their actions and mission because Coat of Arms wants them to "be original-- while staying within the confines of genre."

As such, we have a team composed mostly of killers with a leader who desperately wants to be a hero but doesn't really know what that means. He thinks Punisher is a hero and there would be few who would agree with him there.

After they all separate in order to cool down and get some sleep, we get a good look into the individual members private lives. I can do a page in a sentence or two, here. Coat of Arms is an artist who is captivated by perspective and duality. Enchantress and Melter are a couple and Melter thinks his leadership is based on the fact that Enchantress is giving them all a roof over their heads and provides all the spells they need to escape the police and score free booze. Enchantress isn't half as innocent as she seems. Egghead is a robot whose programming is being constantly corrupted by Big Zero who is working to make him as much of a white supremacist as she is. They're also having sex. Executioner is a killer who gets money wired to him by his mom who is worried about him. The money doesn't seem to be legally gotten, either.

The next day, Melter and Coat of Arms are having another conversation about what it means to be a hero, an Avenger, and a performance artist. Being an artist whose entire reason for bringing the Young Masters together is to show that heroism isn't easy to define and neither is being an Avenger (or a performance artist), Coat of Arms isn't giving Melter the answers he wants to hear. Melter just wants to be a hero. He wants to be one of the good guys but his definition of hero is pretty messed up.

We cut to a bunch of flashbacks where Melter has tried to justify the villainous ways of his teammates. He's realizing that his team is messed up and he's got to find a way to fix that when he trips an old lady. He tries to help her up and gather up her fallen groceries but this old lady is crazy. Well, maybe not, really. This dude just tripped her and this is New York City. She might be hard of hearing. She freaks out and screams for help before macing the Melter. In a fit of anger, Melter... melts her.

No one around seems to notice but Melter's pretty certain that's not how a hero would have handled that situation. He runs back home to find that his team is discussing the reasons why he's the leader of the Young Avengers. It's because he's actually trying to be a hero and trying to make them Young Avengers.

Which is when the actual Young Avengers show up to put a kibosh on this team using their name and dragging it through the mud.

sw4.jpgSecret Warriors #4
Writers: Brian Michael Bendis & Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Stefano Caselli

Druid and Quake are recruiting their newest member of the Caterpillars in Australia and things are sucking it up pretty badly. First, Druid crashed their plane in the middle of the desert and they don't have any way to contact their team to get them out or to find the new recruit they're looking for. Their team has already been grounded, due to their last mission ending with Slingshot getting critically injured (she lost her hands in a fight with the Gorgon). This little frackas isn't going to paint them in a better light if they survive.

The recruit they're looking for is a man named Eden Fesi. Eden has the ability to bend reality which benefits them by bringing a teleporter onto their team (and whatever else Eden could do with his reality altering powers). The guy's being trained up by Gateway, a mutant that's able to create teleportation portals. This is all very important because, while Daisy is explaining this to Druid, Druid is locating Gateway and Eden Fesi. The two are right behind them.

In Juba, Sudan, Nick Fury is looking to take down HAMMER... or Hydra. Maybe both. To do that, he's looking to contact some old friends. The first one he meets is Jasper Sitwell who leads him to the back of a bar where he meets up with Dum Dum Dugan and Gabriel Jones. Formerly of SHIELD and The Howling Commandos. Dum Dum's probably the more recognizable to most comic fans and his relationship with Nick is a lot closer. The two make up pretty quickly while Jones will remain pissed off at Nick for the remainder of this issue.

There's a lot to be pissed about. Fury doesn't play by anyone's rules and is sort of a jerk. He does what he thinks is right and to hell with the consequences. One of those consequences is that, after the Secret War, he had to abandon SHIELD. Things went all to hell after that and it's easy to blame that on Nick not being there.

While Fury meets with old friends and Eden Fesi leads Daisy and Sebastian back to shelter, water, and food, the rest of Fury's Caterpillar team is left to their own devices at the Inside Straight Secret Base. There's one Caterpillar that doesn't like being left in the dark: Hellfire. While Nick Fury is away, Slade raids his office looking for clues into what they're doing. I don't exactly know what MORE he's looking for. He's already found out that SHIELD was a front for Hydra and that their mission is to take Hydra out. Maybe he's looking for more enlightenment. He's about to get help from the youngest member of the team. Phobos, god of fear.

Phobos already predicted that Hellfire would end up dead and, since his other prophesies seem to be coming true, we'll just assume that J.T. is a dead man walking. What he does with his life before he dies? That's what matters, now. If he believes those prophesies. If we believe those prophesies. It could just be said to scare him since, y'know, "god of fear." Anyway, Phobos is all for helping Hellfire out in his office raid and it's the kid that finds the secret room.

Inside the room are lots of LMDs (Life Model Decoys) of Nick Fury in various states of production. The two Caterpillars wonder what Nick needs all these for but we're left with a bigger question: Is the real Nick Fury actually in Sudan? Does he really trust Dum Dum and Gabe or this all about seeing if he trusts them? More that that, if Nick isn't really in Sudan, then where is he? Are we looking into this too much? Are you paranoid or something?

Elswhere in Inside Straight, the final two members of our team fulfill other parts of Phobos' prophesy. Jerry Sledge looks after Yo Yo Rodriguez. Yo Yo got her arms sliced off last issue and looks to be in critical condition. Jerry reads poetry to her to help comfort her. It's a cool scene, honest.

Back in Sudan, Fury gets reacquainted with his friends/ teammates. Dum Dum and Nick relive some good times in the past and... y'know, I'm not actually certain what they're talking about. Women? Fighting? Both? Neither? Old soldiers discussing old memories. Gabriel Jones is just glaring because, as I've said, he's pissed off at Nick this whole issue. The two have it out but there's little chance you'll ever get Nick Fury to apologize for his actions. He's doing the right thing despite the world. Dum Dum thinks it's time Nick saw the rest of the Howlers.

In Australia, Eden Fesi is cooking up some delicious kangaroo while letting Daisy and Sebastian know why he can't go and why he's upset about that. He's happy for his training with Gateway but, out here, he's force to dress in his underwear and doesn't get to rock out to his music of choice. Anyway, Fury already came by and Gateway made sure that he knew that he couldn't join up.

What he missed is that Gateway said he couldn't join up with Nick Fury. Going with Daisy and Sebastian is just aces. It looks like Nick's mission would have led to Eden getting all killed up while becoming a Caterpillar will put him under Quake's protection. So it looks like Eden is the newest member of the Secret Warriors.

At the Hydra Base, Gehenna, the leaders of Hydra all sit around that ridiculously useless table. After losing a few drinks in the folds, they order out for a glass cover to be put on top of it so that maybe they can set some things on it or something. But, now, business.

Baron Strucker has already explained his masterplan to everyone in attendance and now they just need to unanimously vote on it so that they can get to their super war.

Yes, my bet for Madam Hydra is now thrown out there. We just need some hints on who Kraken is. The craziest guess I can think of? Nick Fury. Think about it.

Yeah, probably not. We'll check for more clues.

Anyway, in the end, the entire table of leaders agrees on Strucker's plan and that the war has begun. Madam Hydra was the hardest to convince but, with her vote, it's unanimous. Go war!

In Sudan, Nick Fury is getting a rundown on the Howling Commandos PMC. These are all ex-SHIELD agents that decided not to stay with HAMMER. Not everyone came with, of course. The HC PMC do mercenary business and it's not always on the side of the angels... until now. Fury hires them all on for his mission. They're working for him from now on.

Fury's mission is to infiltrate The Dock. It's currently under control of HAMMER and that means they'll probably be going up against former comrades. Gabe mentions that this isn't going to be easy because some of those friends will get killed in this combat maneuver. Won't that weigh on Fury's conscience? Not really. To Fury, we're all responsible for our actions and, even if you have really good reasons for staying on at SHIELD's successor, you know what bed you're lying in. He has no regrets for doing what he thinks is right.

bp4.jpgBlack Panther #4
Writer: Reginald Hudlin
Penciler: Ken Lashley

You know how to build up an enemy? Have him kill other enemies.

Take Man Ape, for instance. He's a pretty major Black Panther bud guy. He's about to a get killed. It starts off with him all excited because T'Challa is quite possibly dead. He doesn't get time to rejoice long. Our actual villain is on his way to the heart of Wakanda and Man Ape's little kingdom is on the way there.

Man Ape's people fight him but none of them are able to even slow him down. Man Ape doesn't fair much better. In fact, probably much worse. Once he falls, Morlun does his "suck the life out of totems" thing. That leaves one cowardly Man Ape follower to run off and warn Wakanda, making sure to build up his fallen king and suck up to Wakanda as much as possible.

If you're curious, Morlun is a totem vampire and he completely sucks. No one should ever use him again and, if we're lucky, he'll be very dead by the end of this storyline.

In the portal to the afterlife, T'Challa is not ready to go gracefully into the night. Death is really trying it's best to convince him but his first gambit, the dead Dora Milage, didn't do very well. His second try is to bring back a facsimile of T'Challa's father to let him know he can let go.

S'yan has been reacting to the threat of Morlun as best he can but it's brought to his attention that the Queen Mother and Queen are out on their own doing their own thing... trying to resurrect T'Challa through mystic means. This ticks S'yan off because, a lot like T'Challa, he's not one to put his hopes in mysticism. Zawavari, the dude practicing black magic in order to bring T'Challa back to life, has been shunned by the Wakandan royals until this very moment. His magics are not held in high regard. So, there's a big argument between S'yan and his sister-in-law, the Queen Mother, about this whole thing. It's a little too late, though.

Storm is already on her way to rescue her husband. Until the Queen returns, the Queen Mother has authority over royal matters. S'yan storms out as the Queen Mother hopes she has made the right decision.

We're still down a Black Panther and, apparently, there's going to be a female one... possibly Shuri, T'Challa's sister. She's already retrieved the heart-shaped herb from the panther pit. Now, she's just got to eat the thing and have visions. You see, kids, there is good magic and bad magic. Heart-shaped herbs are part of good magic. She takes the heart-shaped herb and takes a trip to meet her god.

Meanwhile, T'Challa is having a good talk with his dead dad, T'Chaka. T'Chaka's here to try and convince his son to give up but that doesn't work out so well because he's trying to convince his son to give up. That's not something that the real T'Chaka would do. So, fake. We're not there yet. First he talks about how awesome his son is and how proud he is. Stuff that would make most sons emotionally break down.

In the spirit realm, Shuri is telling the Panther God how awesome she is.

That's right, she's sitting there saying how she is worthy of being the next Black Panther and taking up the mantle and not humbling herself at all. The scene ends with the Panther God sniffing her out as is his want.

Back in the afterlife, T'challa is having an argument with his fake dad about giving up and going to his reward. Again, it's all about that "give up" thing. T'Chaka wouldn't say that and it reveals this whole thing for the lie it is. Death is gonna have to try another tactic.

The Panther God is not impressed with Shuri at all. You don't go into your god's presence and tell them how awesome you are. That won't get you anywhere no matter how awesome you happen to be. We see a montage of former Black Panthers and they all considered the mantle of Black Panther a sacrifice for their people, not a trophy to be won. The Panther God tells Shuri that she'll never, ever, ever, be a Black Panther and leaves her to deal with that. Four issues with a damn female Black Panther on the cover and no female Black Panther. I call shenanigans. Also, decompression.

Decompressed shenanigans!

Death has decided to fight it out with T'Challa and is impressed to see that he just won't die easily. He's holding on for his people but the odds are completely against him. They finally overcome him and pull him towards his ending. Which is when they all explode. Looks like Storm just arrived and things are looking up.

ssh2.jpgAll New Savage She-Hulk #2
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Pencilers: Peter Vale & Michael Ryan

She-Hulk (the real one) has knocked Lyra (the contender for the name) on her knees and is now doing the reasoning thing. Lyra is the product of genetically engineering a child from Bruce Banner and Thundra's DNA, raised in an apocalyptic future and sent back in time to find this world's greatest super-hero.

And it's not who you think it is unless you think it's Norman Osborn. Then you're right.

Anyway, She-Hulk's reasoning goes awry when she mentions Lyra's mom, Thundra. That causes the battle to rage once more. Lyra takes a nearby pillar and, using it like a bat, knocks She-Hulk across town. OK. Don't mention Thundra in front of Lyra.

She-Hulk smashes into a penthouse apartment of a couple who are way too self-important to realize they're in the middle of a super powered slug-out and should really be seeking some shelter or something. Shulkie's able to move them out right before Lyra makes her own entry to continue the fight.

Norman Osborn is watching this whole fight with only one thing in mind. He wants to absorb ARMOR. Wait, what? ARMOR, for the uninitiated, is the agency that's supposed to be looking out for temporal and dimensional anomalies and stopping them from being a threat to this time and universe. It looks like they're failing big time in this case. When this fight goes south, Osborn will be able to take over that division and get access to even more toys to play with. It's all about power for him.

Sentry is watching this happen with Osborn but he's also listening to what the victims are saying and makes the mistake of thinking that Lyra is looking for him when she says that she's here for this time's greatest hero. Ego. It's a great thing.

She-Hulk is continuing to reason with Lyra while their battle gets highly aerial in nature. It's fun when you realize that neither of the two can fly.

She-Hulk keeps on talking about Lyra as being a potential hero but, in her time and place, hero's a four letter word. The men try to emulate the heroes of the past. The tribes we find are specifically modeled after the Dark Avengers. In the future, Lyra was given the task of fixing the female's broken cradle by stealing parts from the men's cradle. In the future, all people are genetically created by cradles and, without them, life would cease. Lyra's path to the men's cradle puts her and her women in the territory of the Howlers who model themselves after Wolverine (Dakken). The battle is fierce but, with Lyra on their side, the women are victorious. They lose one Arms-Maid who won't even let Lyra help her.

Lyra is a constant reminder of the heroes. She's the daughter of the Hulk and Thundra. To the women of Milago, she's an abomination. They bury their dead and move on.

To St. Louis, Missouri! In the future, it's called Gateway and it's the location of the men's cradle and protected by all the major tribes. Within, they'll face off against the Crawlers (Venom), the Men of Gold (Sentry), the Goblinkin (Green Goblin), and the War Gods (Ares). While the Arms-Maids create a distraction and cause the men tribes to gather on their position, Lyra is able to sneak around them and head straight for the cradle with minimal resistance.

As she enters the facility, she automatically turns on Ismene, the Jocasta-like host to the Origins Unlimited Meta Science Center. She explains all about the true purpose behind the cradles. They were supposed to imbue regular people with super powers. Everyone was able to have powers. She passes through to the next chamber where Boudicca, her annoying little wrist watch that I'm trying desperately to ignore, gives her information that leads her to just the right piece of hardware she needs to get the women's cradle up and running again.

When she gets to that piece, she begins to have doubts. When she removes what she needs to get the women's cradle working again, she'll be taking down the men's cradle. The men will die out. She takes the piece but is philosophical about the end of the men. After all, the women exist largely to oppose the men. What happens when they're gone? What will happen to the women's society? And, most important, why is one of her own Arms-Maids getting ready to stab her in the back?

We fast forward back to the past to witness Lyra and She-Hulk falling to the city streets in New York City. Lyra gets the upper hand on landing and starts slugging Shulkie in the face in her anger at being called a hero. The only thing is, her blows are getting weaker. It turns out that the angrier Lyra gets, the weaker she gets. That gives She-Hulk the upper hand and she moves in for the end move.

Only to be thrown into the next state by the Sentry. He's shown up to end this whole thing by letting her meet the greatest hero of this time. The problem is, he's not who she's looking for. She's here for Norman Osborn. Ozzy quickly joins Sentry in his Iron Patriot gear with most of the rest of the Dark Avengers.

OK. Let's get to The Avengers!

a1.jpgThe Avengers #1
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciler: Jack Kirby

One of Loki's shining moments is when he inadvertently lead to the forming of the Avengers team. Let's watch as that plays out!

No one can tell you that Loki doesn't hate Thor. He hates him so much. It's Thor's fault that none of Loki's schemes ever succeed and that the god of mischief always ends up exiled somewhere in Asgard. That doesn't stop him from magicking his consciousness to Midgard to mess with his brother, though. He watches him in his human guise of Don Blake and realizes that it doesn't pay to take him out in his human form. He needs to defeat him as Thor. Loki just needs to learn how he can accomplish that task.

Letting his consiousness scan the world, he comes across the Hulk and is intrigued. He sets up a challenge for the green goliath. The god of mischief creates the illusion of dynamite on a railroad bridge believing that Hulk will try to remove the TNT. The Hulk does just that but, instead of removing the non-existant dynamite, he ends up destroying the bridge just as a train is heading down the tracks. Realizing his mistake, Hulk gathers up the tracks and holds them in place long enough for the train to clear the bridge. He isn't going to escape the blame, though. Being seen on the scene, Hulk is accused of trying to kill everyone on the train. Sometimes, you can't win for losing in the Marvel Universe.

The papers get the story around that Hulk is causing a rampage and the Hulk's old sidekick, Rick Jones, honestly doesn't know whether the Hulk is innocent or guilty. All he knows is, either way, they'll need help. He and his Teen Brigade put a call out to the Fantastic Four. This doesn't fit Loki's plans so he scrambles the radio signals so that the FF won't receive the message but they'll be put onto a frequency that he knows Don Blake will hear.

Blake gets the message as planned and immediately transforms into Thor. As fate would have it, Blake's not the only one listening to that particular radio signal. Ant-Man and the Wasp also got the message and head off for the American southwest aboard their trusty ants. Tony Stark was listening in as well and so Iron Man suits up and flies to a fateful meeting.

In the end, the FF recieve the message as well but they're hard at work on another case. Reed's certain that there are other heroes headed in to help the Teen Brigade but, if they don't arrive, he tells the TB to get in contact with him. The Teen Brigade is dismayed that the FF won't be coming in to help them out with the Hulk but they get a visit by some other heroes who are just itching to help out.

Loki's not happy that Thor didn't arrive alone. He tries to separate Thor from the others by creating a mental image of Hulk in his vision that only the thunder god can see. Thor leaves the other heroes to chase after the Hulk on his own.

Thor catches up to the image of Hulk only to discover it's only an illusion. The Asgardian is pretty certain he knows who's behind this little mischief play.... Loki. Thor heads to Asgard to confront his step-brother.

Meanwhile, Iron Man, Ant-Man, and Wasp are left to finding out what's happened with the Hulk.

So, where's Hulk? He's playing a mechanical man in a traveling circus. The Carnies found him and, believing he was a robot, set him to work juggling circus animals and lifting heavy cages. It's Ant-Man's ant friends that locate the disguised Hulk and get a hold of Ant-Man and his new friends. While the heroes make their way to the circus, Ant-Man directs his ants to dig underneath the Hulk and force him into an underground trap. Hulk is captured for only a moment before he busts out and is free once more.

Ant-Man tries to talk to the Hulk but, since there's precious little that could get him to go back to full size at this point, he uses a microphone to project his voice. This is a man with a gimmick and he's not giving it up for anything. Hulks not really the guy to listen to reason from tiny projected voices, though. It's fight time. The crowd can't get enough of this stuff. Ants fighting a super powerful robot? Awesome times!

Hulk's had enough of this stuff. The kid gloves and the clown makeup are off. It's time to get serious. He uses a bellows to blow super air at the Wasp, stunning her until he can catch her in his hand. Before he can squish the hero, Iron Man is on the scene and Wasp is free once more.

Iron Man leads their fight into the center of the tent where Ant-Man's ants have set a carefully laid trap. They catch Hulk up in nylon nets which temporarily stop the green goliath but do nothing to end the fight. Hulk simply jumps away taking the tent with him. Once he's well away, Hulk is able to free himself from the netting and discards the rest of the tent. Iron Man follows the Hulk but is unable to put him down for the count.

In Asgard, Thor has gained permission from his dad, Odin, to visit his step-brother, Loki. Thor makes a trip to the Isle of Silence, Loki's current prison. Loki's set numerous traps around the isle but Thor proves their better. He finally makes it to the Isle of Silence and confronts Loki. Thor is pretty certain that Loki is truly responsible for the Hulk incident back on earth but is unable to subdue his brother before the Silent Ones (Trolls and enemies to the gods-- what, you thought that the Isle of Silence was just a name?) grasp at his legs, holding him fast. The troll tries taking Thor into his underworld of mines but Thor calls down lightning to stun the light sensitive creature. That battle is, again, between Thor and Loki.

Loki's got quite a few tricks up his sleeves, mostly illusions so that Thor doesn't know which Loki is real, but Thor is able to see through the trick and nab the real deal. He vows to bring the captured Loki to earth to explain this entire event to his new friends.

Iron Man chases Hulk around the countryside and they eventually end up in an auto factory. The battle is probably partly responsible for the auto industry collapse of today since they do quite a number on the factory and even take out one of the walls in their fight. Hulk is a slippery character and he's tired of being chased around. He's about ready to put this fight back to Iron Man when Thor shows up with Loki in tow.

Thor explains that it was Loki's mischief that caused the train to nearly crash and for Hulk to be blamed. That explained, they start thinking of ways to punish the god of mischief but Loki's not waiting around for a decision. He turns himself radioactive. Even in his armored suit, Iron Man isn't protected against radiation. Hulk and Shellhead are given ten seconds to get out of the area so that Loki can continue his battle with Thor.

But that's not what actually happens. Ant-Man sends his ants to work on capturing Loki. The god of mischief falls through a trap door and falls right into a lead lined tank. The ants quickly shut the door, trapping Loki inside. Knowing that Loki can only remain radioactive for a certain amount of time, Thor plans to wait a few minutes before opening the tank and taking his step-bro back to Odin.

The villain is handled but we're not done yet. Ant-Man proposes that the team remain together to tackle threats together. Iron Man and Thor think it's a good idea and they are quickly joined by a Hulk that is sick of being hunted. Now they just need a name which is provided by Wasp. The Avengers are officially formed.

And that's it for now. Check us out next time as I battle my way through another week of comic goodness!

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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