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Super Reads War of Kings and Dark Reign 58

badguy58.jpgOK, we're back to something of a normal week.

Today, we check out War of Kings #5, Uncanny X-Men #513, The Invincible Iron Man #15, Agent of Atlas #7, and Blast to the Past with Fantastic Four #17.  Enjoy and spread the word!

Spoilers Ahead! I can do this!

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

Let's check on our War.

wok5.jpgWar of Kings #5
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Penciler: Paul Pelletier


Last issue, Lilandra made an attempt to regain control of the Shi'ar Empire, Vulcan met Talon, and Lilandra is killed by Razor on Chandilar.

This issue, the Inhuman Royal family consider ending this War with their disasterous Counter Plan, Vulcan learns that Talon might be an ally but he's got his own ideas for the Shi'ar Imperium, Crystal and Ronan try to talk sense to the Inhumans, Gladiator and the Starjammers take on Araki and the Shi'ar Death Commandos on Chandilar, and Black Bolt launches the T-Bomb... with himself powering it as a living sacrifice!

The Inhuman Royal Family has just learned that Lilandra is dead. This was their best chance at peace between the Kree and the Shi'ar without prolonged conflict. Medusa calls on a period of mourning for the people of the Kree Empire, possibly in the king's name. She's been Black Bolt's interpreter for a long, long time and we have to wonder if she's actually listening to him as much as she should. Karnak is the first to mention how this hurts the war effort. Now, they are almost assured of a long, long state of war unless they fall back on the Counter Plan. No one's let Gorgon in on this Plan. What is it? We'll find out soon.

This is something that even causes Medusa to pause. Even she isn't certain that this is something they should do. Black Bolt gives her a look. It's time to do something rash. No one's cluing Gorgon or us in just yet but Attilan, the Inhuman's city, lifts off of the throneworld of the Kree Empire.

Vulcan's reaction to Lilandra's death is more emotional but it's all joy. He can't stop watching it. Ka'ardum still doesn't see this as a positive move. He already mentioned what killing the last Neramani heir would lead to a vaccuum in rebelling against Vulcan's rule. Civil war is going to break out and it will shatter the Shi'ar Empire. Ka'ardum advises Vulcan to sue for peace on the Kree front so he can quell the rebellion from within. Vulcan's not really cheery about that option but it's supported by his new ally, Talon.

Vulcan learns that the Fraternity of Raptors do NOT serve the Emperor. They serve the Great Purpose which is more about securing the future of the Empire than supporting a crazy Emperor. Talon suggests Vulcan reach peace terms with the Kree and Inhumans or the Raptors might just be looking for a new Emperor. Vulcan lashes out with his mutant power. The Raptor easily blocks the attack. Talon takes off to Chandilar to quiet down the riots.

Word reaches the Shi'ar that Attilan has taken off and is headed their way. It looks like they're gonna take a headshot and try to remove the Shi'ar ruler. Vulcan muses about their headshot starting the war. The Imperial Guard was supposed to take out Black Bolt and end this fight quickly. Instead, Black Bolt lived and things got bad real quick. It turns out that if you want something done right you have to do it yourself. Vulcan orders his ships to follow him into the end confrontation. Ka'ardum asks about the Raptor's advice but that just spurs Vulcan on. This thing is gonna end king versus king.

Gorgon isn't the only one that has no clue what's going on. No one's told Crystal or her husband.
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Ronan's gotten better quickly and he's upset about being left out. He handed the future of the Kree over to the Inhumans and he wants that to have been a good move. OK. What the hell is the Counter Plan?

Maximus is the one who finally tells us. It's the Utterance of Destiny. Also known as the T-Bomb. Weaponized Terrigen. Remember Hiroshima? This is similar but with more comic book elements in it and lifted to a cosmic scale. Terrigen is sacred to the people of Attilan. It's the stuff that gives them their super abilities and making it into a weapon is super sacrilige. It's a bad idea all around. Karnak, who is usually smarter than he is right here, explains that the problem with the galaxy is that everyone is different. Once the bomb is detonated, that'll change. Everyone will be uplifted together. Nevermind philosophical or religious differences. If everyone has super powers, everyone will get along swimmingly. He's also planning on destroying the internet because it causes arguments.

The T-Bomb, like all of Maximus' creations, is powered by the voice of Black Bolt. When it goes off, Terrigen will spread throughout the universe, uplifting everyone. Except the Kree. The Kree are at a dead end in their evolutionary development and, thus, will be left out when everyone else gets super powers. This does not please Ronan.

It doesn't please Crystal either because she's sane. This is not something that the Inhumans have a right to do. She tries talking sense to her family but there's no one there that's really listening and her sister, Medusa, is especially full of herself today. You'll also remember that Crystal got a look at how fragile the Universe is currently. Something like this could shatter everything. Ronan agrees. He is looking out for his people but also knows that peace can not be gained in this way. They beg Black Bolt to reconsider. Medusa tells the two that their king will think about it.

On Chandilar, it's riot city. There are those fighting for both factions, Vulcan's and the late Lilandra's. There are others, like Gladiator, who are just upset, angry, and without hope for the future. He's fighting just for something to do now that everything is falling apart. His target is Araki because the dude frickin' deserves it. In his way is the Shi'ar Death Commando leader, Black Cloak. It turns out to not be as easy a fight as you'd think it would be. Black Cloak turns out to be a challenge even to someone as unbeatable as Gladiator.

So it's a good thing Gladiator has some allies. Rachel uses her powers to take off Black Cloak's head. She blames the Commando for leading the strike that killed off her family (the Greys-- it happened in Uncanny X-Men shortly after Decimation). Gladiator knows that Black Cloak was just an instrument. It was Araki that signed the Greys' death certificates. The former Praetor quickly kills the Chancellor. The Starjammers gather together. Their only hope for peace is well gone. The only one who could bring any order to Chandilar now is Vulcan and, well, he's Vulcan. It looks like this is the end of the Shi'ar.

If Black Bolt could only see what was happening on Chandilar, maybe he wouldn't be rushing to end this War with explosions and universal change. Still, that's his answer. He launches the T-Bomb. Crystal and Ronan aren't the only one who look like they're in mourning. Even Maximus is upset. Only Medusa is happy as hell and that's only because she hasn't been listening. When Maximus mentioned that Black Bolt was the bomb's trigger, he meant that the Inhuman King had to be IN THE BOMB when it went up.
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To change the universe, Black Bolt has to die. Medusa didn't know and she's angry. Karnak confirms that this is how the plan was laid out. Learning that this isn't the awesome plan she was told it was, Medusa tries contacting her husband and changing his mind. Asking him why he didn't tell her that he had to die to make everything work. Black Bolt looks at a photo of his wife and son before connecting himself up with the bomb. He finally says his last word to his wife: "goodbye."

The bomb begins to build to critical mass. Stuff isn't done yet. We've got another issue to go, after all. Also, remember when I told you all this would end with king fighting king? Vulcan has arrived. He cuts through the Sonic Sentries and enters the Inhuman King's chambers to challenge Black Bolt to a one on one battle.

It's totally on.

uxm513.jpg
Uncanny X-Men #513
Writer: Matt Fraction
Penciler: Terry Dodson


In last week's DA/UXM: Utopia, Simon Trask comes to San Francisco with his Humanity Now! movement to promote Proposition X, a mutant breeding act. Since San Francisco is the home of every mutant ever (outside of, say, X-Factor), this is just a riot waiting to happen and it only takes a few pages for that to start up. Cyclops and Emma Frost meet with the mayor and start working on quelling the riots as the whole thing attracts the attention of America's Top Cop, Norman Osborn. X-Man fights X-Man in the street of San Francisco. The Dark Avengers and HAMMER intervene and things still don't calm down. Emma Frost goes to Norman Osborn and finds out about "The Plan." It's the beginning of the Dark X-Men as Iron Patriot addresses the public with Professor Charles Xavier... while another Professor X is talking to the previously captured Beast in prison.

In this issue, Cyclops runs away from the authorities, the Dark Avengers help to clean the streets of San Francisco, Beast chats it up with the real Xavier before being trotted out to the Omega Machine which is being run by Dark Beast from the Age of Apocalypse, Norman Osborn introduces Emma to the Dark X-Men, we all learn that Dark Xavier is Mystique, Namor joins Emma's team, Simon Trask begins infecting people with a techno-organic virus, Cyclops orders his X-Men to watch a lot of TV, Hellion leads a lot of people who should know better (and some who don't) into a riot/demonstration at Union Square, and the Dark X-Men get to some arresting.

Norman Osborn hasn't called for the arrest of Scott Summers. He has asked Cyclops to come in for questioning as a "person of interest," however. HAMMER troops got a hold of him last issue but he broke out of their hold and is right now making a dash for it. While Cyclops is successfully evading capture, we get a voice over of the press conference down at Fisherman's Wharf where Norman Osborn and his Professor Xavier are calling for an end to the violence and for Cyclops to step down from his leadership position over the mutant population. We also get scenes that show Ares protecting City Hall, Venom engaged in a fight with Colossus, Ms. Marvel shooting people up at The Castro, Hawkeye protecting the Embarcadero, and Daken looking for people that look like his father in another section of the city.

If you're wondering who can take who in a fight between Colossus and Venom, the answer is Piotr. He knocks Gargan off of his back and then follows up with a nice section of the sidewalk to Sinister Spidey's face. While the Dark Avenger is staggering on the ground, Colossus is picked up by Iceman and the two ice-slide out of the area to meet up with everyone else. Iceman doesn't get near enough panel time in any X-comic so it's nice that he got an appearance in this crossover.

Alcatraz Island is the west coast headquarters of HAMMER and it's also where they're keeping such important mutant prisoners as the Beast and... Professor Xavier? There seems to be two Xaviers floating around. This one is talking to the Beast in the next cell over using his psi-powers but those powers seem weaker than they should. Beast isn't falling for this guy being Xavier. He can't see Chuck and, even if he could, there's obviously another Prof X running around so that's not something you can trust. Heck, this is the real Professor X which doesn't mean he's the same guy the Beast knew. The current Xavier is dealing with a good deal of memory loss after his "death" in Messiah Complex (unless he's solved some of that-- I haven't been keeping up with X-Men Legacy).

Their psychic chat is cut short as Beast is taken out the Omega Machine. Manning that machine is Dark Beast. DB is a doppleganger of our Beast who grew up evil in the Age of Apocalypse. He was one of four people that made it over to the normal reality when that one shattered and he's the only one of those four currently walking around. He looks a lot less cat-like and more "classic Beast" than the current Morrison/Quitely version but he's also a whole lot more evil. So, what does that Omega Machine do? I bet we'll find out more next issue but, I'll tell you right now, it doesn't look anything less than torture.

Elsewhere in Alcatraz, Emma Frost is hanging out with Norman Osborn and FauXavier. Ozzy's about to introduce Emma to her team. Yeah, her team. Norman pulls the roster up on the monitor and we get our look in on the Dark X-Men. Cloak. Dagger. Mimic. Dark Wolverine. Weapon Omega (hmmm... Omega Machine?). Let's go around the room as Norman hands out intros.

Mimic. Calvin Rankin. His ability is to mimic other's powers. He first faced off against the X-Men way back in X-Men #19 and later joined the team as it's "leader." This makes him the first new member of the X-Men team after the original five. He retains the powers of the original five X-Men so he's pretty formidable. The problem is that he's found himself playing both villain and good guy quite a bit over the years. He was the first new X-Man and he even ended up sacrificing himself when it was learned that his abilities were killing people. Unfortunately, he's also joined up with Onslaught and the Brotherhood. He's all over the place and it makes you wonder if you can trust him to have your back. Ozzy says the guy is here to prove himself a hero.

Cloak and Dagger are a very cool pair. Dagger has energy blades and healing powers. Cloak has a teleporting ability. They're both runaways and are not happy to be here. They joined for reasons not revealed here but will be revealed in next week's Dark X-Men: Beginnings.

Dark Wolverine. Daken. It turns out Wolverine is one of the most popular people in the Marvel Universe just like he is in our reality. If your team is gonna be anything, it needs a Wolverine.

Weapon Omega. Michael Pointer. You may remember him from his time in Omega Flight or that one time that he took up every one's mutant energy after House of M and ended up killing Alpha Flight. Before we learn much more about him, Dark Beast comes in and tells a very eager Weapon Omega that "it's ready." Ah, that crazy Omega Machine must help "upgrade his powers exponentially in a way that ties into all of our problems" just as Norman tells Emma.

"Xavier" likes the line up but Emma's had enough of this dance. She knows that whoever's sitting in the wheelchair isn't the real Xavier. There's no telepathic ability. Norman tells Mystique to stop it and Xavier changes shape into the blue skinned shape-shifter. Since Darkholme is a crazy killer, Emma's not happy with her being around. Norman assures Ms. Frost that Mystique is under their control. The former leader of the Brotherhood has had nano-bots injected into her that can performs lots of behavioral functions including execution if need be. Regardless, Mystique isn't a field agent. She's strictly here to be the team's Professor X.

Norman tells Emma that these team members are locked in. She can't remove them. She can, however, add whoever she wants to the roster. Frost only wants one add. Namor the Sub-Mariner. Norman and Namor had a fight in Dark X-Men #6 where the Atlantean refused to help out Osborn in dealing with Atlantean terrorist. His addition to the X-Men team only shocks Norman for a moment. After that, he simply congratulates Emma on her choice.

Now, all that needs doing is to introduce the team to the public in a nice big press conference. Everyone has new uniforms with "X's" on them (including another Wolverine costume for Daken). Osborn tells the crowd that the team will be led by Emma Frost under the guidance of Professor X. Emma takes the conference from there and announces that there will be a curfew tonight for the city of San Francisco. Only the law will be on the streets.

Simon Trask is recovering from injuries he recieved in the riot that started this whole mess. He's bandaged up pretty well and his left arm is in a cast. Wile listening to the press conference on TV, he decides that it's time he got busy. Trask rises from his bed and infects the closest member of the hospital staff with the techno-organic virus. He and his new follower leave the room and summon even more followers in the hallway. It looks like Simon is no longer injured at all.

Inside the X-Men's headquarters in the Marin Headlands, Cyclops and his people... watch television. When anyone asks Scott a question, he tells them to shush so he can watch his stories. But seriously, he's paying particular attention to these press conferences and is impressed by Norman's move to impose a curfew on the city streets. If they disobey, Oz wins. If they obey, Oz wins. The X-Men are more concerned that Cyclops' girlfriend is leading Osborn's Dark X-Men team. Scott isn't answering any questions on that subject.

The X-Men have a lively debate on what's going on that Cyclops punctuates for them. Right now, Osborn's word is law. Until they know what's going on, they can't do anything constructive. So, for now, it's all about watching television because television is awesome.

Some mutants don't like just watching things happen. Hellion meets in the bar with many of them. Around the table we have such winners as Match, Lorelei, Avalanche, Adam X, Meld, and Sunspot. Yes, Sunspot. Berto knows better than to be here and his little caption says just as much. Adam X? He's a firecracker waiting to explode. He's just wants to go break things but cooler heads prevail. Not coolest heads, though. These people are determined to break curfew and prove their point. They just don't want to look like monsters doing it. Or something. They're still gonna break stuff, though.

Meanwhile, Emma is about to find out what the Omega Machine is all about. She already pretty much knows but wants to watch it in action. Dark Beast explains that it's like putting a speed governor on an engine. Before he can get into a long explanation, there's activity happening at Union Square that will require immediate attention.
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Cyclops is watching this all on TV and is really hoping Hellion isn't this stupid. Oh, Scott. Hellion was always this stupid. Hellion is shown on a TV monitor demanding that the Dark teams get down here and arrest him and his rioters.

On the plus side, it gives the Dark X-Men something to do. It's their trial by fire mission and it's gonna be a cake walk. The Dark X-Men teleport to the scene and quickly take down the mutant riot. Everyone gets to use their powers and everything.

Cyclops watches this all and decides that it's time to do something. He's going to meet with Norman Osborn.

iim15.jpgThe Invincible Iron Man #15
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Salvador Larroca


Last issue, Tony flew out to Russia in his classic armor and had a meeting with Colonel Dmitri Bukharin, Pepper Potts begins tracking Tony down, Tony flies off in the Crimson Dynamo armor, Maria Hill leaves a very blatant message on Natasha (Black Widow) Romanova's building, Pepper finds Tony in Russia, and Madam Masque find them both at the end of her sniper sights.

This issue, Tony realizes that Pepper's here and the two walk off to his secret lab, Natasha meets up with Maria Hill but there's no trust in the room, Pepper and Tony talk about Tony's memory going away, Maria chases Natasha around New York, Hammer chases them both, Madam Masque takes Pepper hostage, Natasha comes to Maria's rescue, and Masque gives Tony an ultimatum to save Pepper Potts.

Tony nearly takes Pepper's head off before finally realizing that it's her in front of him. He forgot he designed her armor and that memory slip nearly led to a fatal attack on his part. Now that he knows, the two kiss while Madam Masque watches. The two get up and walk to Tony's secret laboratory while Pep makes fun of Tony's armor. He's wearing the Crimson Dynamo suit he borrowed from Dmitri last issue. As they walk away, Masque makes the decision to kill Pepper first but not right now.

In New York, Maria Hill is meeting Natasha Romanova after painting a huge black widow on her apartment building. Hill is trying to deliver a modem to Captain America and, since she knows that Natasha has contact with James Barnes, has decided to do that through someone she knows. Natasha doesn't particularly trust Hill right now and Maria's not giving her many reasons to start. Hill is still suffering from breaking out of the Controller's power a few issues back. In her current state, Romanova doesn't even want to talk to her. She jumps off the building and there goes Maria Hill's best chance of delivering this modem to Bucky Cap.

Back in Russia, Pepper is just waking up after... um... whatever her and Tony did. Use your imagination. Tony's already up and busy. The two get to talking and Tony tells her that his memory is going buh-bye in chunks now. He remembers that he owns 31 cars but can't name a single manufacturer. He compares it to losing his super power. One of the smartest men in the world is losing his mind. Pepper decides this is the best time to tell Tony "thank you" for everything he's done for everyone in her life. It's a touching moment that would be better if Tony could remember who Happy Hogan was.

Madame Masque is tracking Tony and Pepper and sort of obsessing. Norman tries to get a hold of her but she isn't talking to him. She's tracking.

In New York, Maria Hill isn't taking no for an answer and has decided to chase after Natasha. Their rooftop escapades lead to them falling to earth which gets them noticed by scared old ladies. One of those old ladies makes a call to her local HAMMER representative and HAMMER decides to start chasing them around town as well.

In Russia, Tony is chopping some wood and thinking how it would be to live a normal life. Soon, Tony's going to lose a whole lot more and be much less than normal. For now, he's nearly on the same level as your average person. It's the first time that thought hasn't frightened the hell out of him. He gets back to his secret lab to find that Masque has already broken in.

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HAMMER closes in on Maria Hill just as Natasha gives her the slip. Hill cries out desperately for Tasha to shoot the bag she's carrying with the modem in it so that Norman doesn't get his hands on it. Her pleas finally get Natasha to do more than just run away from her. The Black Widow shoots down a wire and rescues the former Director/ Deputy Director of SHIELD. The two run off as HAMMER gives chase.

Back in the secret lab, Masque holds all the cards. She's got Pepper well tied up and even had time to read through some of Tony's notes. Whitney knows all about Tony's plan to lose his mind. She tells Stark all about her plan to torture Potts and eventually kill her while Tony watches. She'll make it look good for Osborn.

Tony offers himself in Pepper's place but Masque already has him right here. She's also a little curious about his state of mind. It looks like, in his current state, he might not be able to lie to her. Or something.

Whitney Frost takes off her mask and asks Tony if she ever loved her. The truth shall set him free. Also: Pepper. What's it gonna be, Tony?


aoa7.jpgAgents of Atlas #7
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Gabriel Hardman


Last issue, Derek Kanata got an invitation for a free meal at Ling's Tea House, The Agents of Atlas head undersea for an adventure in the Pacific and a meeting with Namor, we met Tulem who told us stuff about Namora's past that she probably doesn't want out there, everybody got into a fight which ended with Namor and Namora making out, and the Agents of Atlas went on a tour of Oceanus.

This issue, Derek Kanata will go to Ling's Tea House and receive an invitation to join the Atlas Foundation, Namora will announce plans to marry Namor, everyone gets attacked by a giant underwater animal flower thing, M-11 kills it while Bob projects an image of everyone dying in order to get Tulem to reveal his treachery, Tulem tells all present that he really wants to see Namor and Namora mate and produce super offspring, and the wedding is called off.

Derek Kanata is visiting Ling's Tea House. He was given a card that had his name on it last issue and was told to come here for a very special offer. When he mentions this to his waitress, she hits a button and his table and chair shift into the wall. On the other side, he's offered a position with Atlas. Now, he just needs to hear the specifics.

Under the sea, Namora and Namor are giving the Agents of Atlas a tour of the surrounding area. Tulem is around but is keeping far back from their latest find. It's some sort of undersea animal that looks kind of like a flower. Bob swims closer to get a good look but, before anyone else can join them, Namora holds them back so she can announce the big news.

She's going to marry Namor. She wants Jimmy to give her away. She also needs to know if Jimmy needs her to stay with the Atlas Foundation. Tulem waits for the answer.

Jimmy doesn't need her to stay with Atlas. He just wants her to stay. If she decides to stay with her... cousin... then he's happy for her.

Now, let's clarify. They're cousins but not blood cousins. Namora's father was sort of grafted into the royal family. There's nothing gross going on here. It just sounds kind of gross.

Namor is impressed by Jimmy's leadership. He's willing to let go of a powerful asset just because it's the right thing to do. That's pretty honorable in Namor's book.

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Tulem starts to caution against everyone getting so close to the animal plant thing. He wants to make sure no one touches it.

Namora has told Namor all about the Atlas Foundation's purpose and what it is trying to accomplish. Namor gives Jimmy some advice about leadership. Namor's made his share of mistakes in leadership and the two discuss the different positions they have been put into and what they might have to do.

Tulem is still trying to get everyone to step away from the animal plant even though he was much less cautious before the wedding announcement. Everyone finally starts swimming out of the area but not before Bob Grayson reaches out and touches a tentacle.

The megaform immediately lashes out at anyone within striking range with it's acidic tentacles. Bob shouts out a warning into everyone's minds that this whole area is alive and that their suits won't hold for long. Jimmy calls in M-11 for a rescue op.

Only Venus and Tulem remains outside the creature's range and Tulem is making sure she doesn't rush into the thing. It's ok. M-11 is very suited for killing stuff like this. While M-11 is killing, Bob telepathically links Namor, Namora, Gorilla-Man, Jimmy, and himself. He tells them that, during the attack, he discovered... something. He tells them that he's going to create a telepathic illusion that should reveal more information.

M-11 has killed the creature but what strikes Venus and Tulem the most is that they see their friends dead and floating lifeless in the water. All of them. No survivors. Tulem reveals that he didn't expect this to happen. Namor and Namora shouldn't have been killed by this creature.

And, of course, they aren't dead. No one is. That was the illusion. It got Tulem to reveal his true colors. He sent everyone here so that Namora's ties to the surface would be taken care of in one quick killing spree. But why?

Tulem isn't giving anything up but that's ok. Bob already scanned him for the info while his defenses were low. It turns out that Tulem was part of a eugenics program to create hybrid mutations by reuniting Atlanteans with surface people. Namor happened on accident and proved that there was great strength to be gained from mating with the surface. Namora's birth was carefully planned. The problem lay in the fact that both Namor and Namora have had problems having children. Namorita was a clone of Namora and, even then, had only a fraction of Namora's strength. Only together could the two have children with all of their powers.

That puts a good stop to the wedding plans. No one likes to feel like a pawn. The Agents head back to the the surface a little bummed out about their last adventure. Jimmy's wrapped up in the advice Namor gave him. He's been focusing on the Dark Reign so much that he's neglected looking further into the Atlas Foundation. Fortunately, he's about to hire someone that can help him with that.

The Atlas Foundation has driven Derek Kanata home. The pay he'll receive on the job is very nice. He's got a hell of a job ahead of him: making Atlas a legit establishment, but if anyone can do it, it'll be him. He just needs to make sure his family is safe, though. No worries there. They've been guarded ever since HAMMER took over.

Derek gets out of the car and meets his family. As the car rolls away, he shouts out, happily, "Jimmy Woo... I love you!"

It's a good day for some people.


ff17.jpgFantastic Four #17
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciler: Jack Kirby


Last issue, the Fantastic Four met Ant-Man after they found themselves shrinking at terrible moments. Using Ant-Man's formula, the Four shrink down to the Micro-World and right into Dr. Doom's hands. The Four meet the king and princess of this realm and, with Ant-Man's help, retake the kingdom for the real royalty. Doom escapes to the regular world and the FF make ready to follow.

This issue, the FF say goodbye to Ant-Man and begin searching the city for Doom before getting bored and giving up. Doom sets his trap in motion by dressing as a Baxter Building custodian and slipping some identodiscs on the Four. The FF are followed throughout the city by crazy robots that scan their very atomic structure. Doom kidnaps Alicia Masters and threatens America by failure in it's electronic systems. The Thing is turned human to attack Doom's airship and deactivate it's defenses. The rest of the Four join him in rescuing Alicia and defeating Dr. Doom.

The Fantastic Four are back to their normal size and that means they don't need Ant-Man around any more. He's only good for size changing adventures so, even though Thing muses about replacing Johnny with Hank, we won't see Pym teaming up with the Four again until the rest of the Avengers show up. For now, Reed is more concerned about tracking down Dr. Doom. Doom escaped last issue so it's probably a good idea to search for him before he tries something diabolical.

Reed has a machine that will find anyone wearing steel. It will prove not so good at finding Doom but at least it's a try. Everyone else runs off to cover the city. Torch tries out something called sonar heat waves. They don't find anything. Thing thinks he sees Doom in a crowd of people and rushes over to investigate and, maybe, clobber. After falling into the sewers, accidentally saving a life, and ruining a car, Ben discovers that his Dr. Doom is just an actor dressed up as a knight to promote a play. Sue uncovers a dastardly toy maker. It's failure all around.

So, they give up. Doom'll reveal himself eventually, right? On their way out on the town, they find that the lobby of the Baxter Building is full of fans that they don't want to deal with. Fortunately, there's a helpful custodian who invites them into the freight elevator. When they leave, he makes sure to get a handshake from each of them. In the process, the janitor puts a tracking disc on them. He's actually Doom in a clever disguise.

Doom releases flying, intangible robots out into the city. Each one tracks down a specific member of the Four and ruins their night. They don't do anything. They just float above their target and embarrass them. One ruins Johnny's date. Another harrasses Thing while he out with his girl, Alicia. Sue's follower ruins a photo shoot. Reed's prevents him from getting an honorary degree.

Everyone goes back to the Baxter Building where Reed's scanners are able to locate the tracking discs. When removed, the robots fade away. Problem solved but not really. This is all part of Doom's ridiculous plan.

Something he learned through the robots is that Thing has a girlfriend. Doom loves to kidnap girlfriends and wastes no time stealing Ben's. Alicia finds herself floating up to Doom's flying fortress. The Fantastic Four find out about this after reading it in the paper. Doom appears before them soon after to gloat and tell them all the things he could do now.

All this and all Doom really wants is a cabinet position. That's right. He just wants to be on the Presidential Cabinet. Secretary of Doom! When he makes this demand, John F. Kennedy summarily rejects it. There's no bowing to terrorists even in the sixties. Because of this, Doom causes the electronic systems in the US to go wonky. Nothing works.

Over in the Soviet Union, there is great rejoicing until they realize that Doom could do the same to them. This isn't a friend, after all.

The Fantastic Four are called in to stop this menace. Reed has already conceived a plan but he will only tell the FF. It turns out that those crazy intangible robots weren't just being annoying. They were scanning their molecular code. If the Four try to attack Doom's airship, the guns, which are designed to track their molecular code, will fire at them and destroy them.

fantasticfour17.jpg

Only Ben can get through and only if he's human again because he'll have a different molecular code. Reed works for hours on making a long lasting formula that will return Ben to human form. Once done, even Reed isn't certain if it'll last long enough. Still, it's a chance the Thing is willing to take to stop Doom and rescue his girl.

Ben is able to pierce Doom's disintegrator defenses but only just. He returns to Thing form just as his ship gets through. On board, Thing destroys the circuitry powering the disintegrator cannons and waits for the rest of his team to join him.

No that everyone's on board, they split up to take on Doom's ship defenses on their own. Johnny gets stuck in a spinning room and goes to nova flame to knock the room's mechanisms out. That puts him out of the fight. Reed gets trapped in a room that fills up with cement but stretches between the air molecules in the cement in order to escape. Thing nearly finds himself dropping out of the ship but remembers that his girlfriend is in danger and determinedly climbs back aboard. Only Sue remains free of traps and that might be because she's gone invisible and is out of Doom's sensors.

The three guys manage to team up together and Doom believes he's trapped them and removed them from our dimension. What he's really done is trapped and removed some flame images of Thing, Torch, and Mr. Fantastic. The real deals have slipped by the rest of his defenses and entered Doom's inner chambers for a showdown.

Doom raises his shields to keep the three from rushing him and then runs off to get his hostage to protect him. By this point, Sue has found Alicia and taken her place, hiding Alicia in the closet.

This all leads to a fight between Doctor Doom and the Invisible Girl. This all goes down most likely because fans had been complaining that all Sue added to the team was a hostage. This issue sees her replace the hostage and then turn the tables on the biggest bad that the Fantastic Four have ever fought. Doom tries a trap but Sue evades it and fights Doom with her judo prowess.

Doom eventually pulls a gun on Sue but that's why she has teammates. The rest of the Four crash through the wall Kool-Aid Man style. Doom doesn't like these odds at all and jumps from the airship into the clouds below. We watch the arch-villain fade from sight before rejoining the Four inside the ship.

Thing rescues Alicia from the menace of being in a closet and all's well that ends well.

Neat. A short, quick week. Could I dare to catch up? We'll see!

Until next time: Who Do YOU Trust?
The Outhouse is sponsored this week by Late Nite Draw. Recently featured on ComicsAlliances' Best Art Ever, he is a Chicago-based commissioned artist with a self-published Digital+Print one-shot coming out in October about the abominable snowman called ABOBAMANIMABBLE, and is also available for commissions. Check out some amazing art by clicking here or by clicking the banner at the top, and support the people who support The Outhouse.


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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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