Today, we check out War of Kings: Warriors #1, Dark X-Men: The Beginning #1, X-Men Legacy #226, Ms. Marvel #41, Skrull Kill Krew #3, and Blast to the Past with The Amazing Spider-Man #'s 39 & 40. Enjoy and spread the word!
This was a surprising large week with some comics telling multiple stories.
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 58 previous articles. It's perfect for all your reading needs.
Let's look in on Gladiator and friends.
War of Kings: Warriors #1
Writers: Chrisos N. Gage
Penciler: Mahmud A. Asrarar
In this story, we watch as Gladiator contemplates betraying his emperor by not stopping an assassin camping out in sniper range. This leads to a flashback where Gladiator (real name: Kallark) qualifies for the a try out in the the Shi'ar Imperial Guard and meets with the Shi'ar Emperor, T'korr, alongside other Strontian finalists. T'korr gives them a test to see which one will join his Imperial Guard: kill the Strontian Council of Elders. After one Strontian is slain for her disobedience, the rest of the crew fly off to kill their own Elders. Kallark ends up fighting it out with a fellow finalist who he overcomes before killing the Council. T'korr puts him in charge of the Imperial Guard. In the future, his moment of uncertainty is at an end and he saves his Emperors life while slaying the sniper.
The planet is Thrnn. It didn't pay it's vowel tax so it's not allowed to have any. The Emperor is Vulcan. He and the Shi'ar have recently taken over this planet and that means the Emperor has to give a speech, swing around a severed head of a local, and basically look down on these new entrants to his awesome empire. Along for the ride is the Praetor of the Imperial Guard, Gladiator. He's serving as Vulcan's sole bodyguard mostly because the current emperor doesn't really need that much guarding. It's not that there aren't attempts on his life. It's just that he's an alpha level mutant and nearly unkillable. He's also crazy out of his mind and desperate for attention and love.
Which, as one in a long line of crazy Shi'ar rulers, puts him in similar company. D'Ken? Crazy. Deathbird? Evil and neglectful. Even Lilandra found it hard maintaining an already corrupt empire. So, when Gladiator notices the sniper training in on Vulcan from across the city, he should simply do his duty and not mind the fact that he works for one in a long line of madmen. Still, Gladiator does think of a world without Vulcan. Why shouldn't he just choose to do nothing and allow his Emperor to fall?
As the sniper fires at the Shi'ar ruler, Gladiator takes time out for... you guessed it... a flashback.
We move back in time to a couple hundred years ago when Gladiator was simply a cadet on the planet Strontian. He wasn't Gladiator yet. Simply Cadet Kallark. He was, however, the most promising Strontian Cadet to come by in many a year. The current exercise has been put forth by the Strontian Council of Elders in order to find Cadets to properly represent Strontia in the Shi'ar Imperial Guard. Kallark is, of course, kicking some major tail. He rescues a fellow Cadet but only because doing so won't impare his own objectives.
While Kallark continues on his objective, the Elder tells the rescued Strontian how awesome Kallark is. The future Praetor fights it up against a hostile employing magic because that is one of the few vulnerabilities that Strontians have. We also get some good background on what Strontian powers are and how they work. For the uninitiated, they have Superman-like abilities and are only as strong as they believe themselves to be. If they doubt themselves, they can become vulnerable to attack. Also, magic. It is also worth mentioning the the culture of Strontia is one of honor and duty. These are people that live to serve. To be disloyal is nearly unthinkable.
Several Stontians, including Kallark, pass this test with flying colors. Since there's only room for one Strontian on the Shi'ar's brand new Imperial Guard, there will be one more test administered by the Shi'ar Majestor himself. Before running off to face that challenge, the Council of Elders super-charges the already super powerful Cadets to what they call the "Gladiator Level." This will allow them to survive in outer space, amps up their abilities to the Nth degree, and gives them eye beams.
The current Majestor of the Shi'ar Empire is named T'korr. He seems new to the throne not by his actions but because he talks about the decisions made by his father, one being admitting Strontia to the Empire. T'korr wonders if such a powerful people won't one day overthrow the Shi'ar and take their empire from them. His advisor tells him about the Strontian mindset of loyalty and duty and also relays that T'korr's father was able to bring Strontia into the empire by curing them of the Wraith Plague. This bought the planet's loyalty, a loyalty that T'korr is about to test.
The Strontian Cadets are given an unthinkable mission. They are to return to Strontia and kill the Council of Elders. This does not go over well with most of the Cadets. A female one shows her displeasure by attempting to kill T'korr but, with her loyalty divided between duty and home, she doubts her own abilities and is made vulnerable. T'korr shoots her in the head before she is able to lay a hand on the Majestor.
The Shi'ar Emperor speaks to his Cadets, telling them that they swore to obey any command given by him. Is this the kind of loyalty that brings? Attempted assassination? The rest of the Gladiator enhanced Strontians hesitantly fly back home to complete their terrible task.
The Cadets return to missile fire. It seems that Strontia has been made aware of this mission and try their best to stop the Cadets from completing their mission. Many Cadets fall in the attack being effected in the same way as the female Cadet that T'korr gunned down. Their loyalties are divided and their self confidence is leaving them. Even Kallark allows himself a moment of doubt before regaining his composure. He's been given a mission and it's duty before anything else for the future Preator.
Kallark enters the Council Chambers with another Cadet, Harrald, on his heels. As Kallark fights his way through the Council Guards, Harrald changes sides and comes to the Elders' defense.
So, yeah, guess who has more self confidence? That would be Kallark. He punches Harrald into a wall and eye beams the Council of Elders moments later. His mission accomplished, Kallark wastes no time leaving. Harrald, however, runs to the fallen Elders and swears to avenge their deaths. This is totally not what the Elders want at all. They tell Harrald that this was a test not only of the Cadets but of the Elders. If all the Cadets had failed to take up duty of killing the Council, The Shi'ar would have destroyed Strontia's sun. As the Elder tells Harrald this, Kallark is busy destroying the device that would have nova'd Strontia's sun. The Elders had been aware of this tactic and had told Kallard that they must die so that Strontia might live. When Harrald asks why this wasn't told to the rest of the Cadets, the dying Elder tells him that it would have changed nothing. Only Kallark had the strength to do what had to be done.
Harrald still believes that fighting the Shi'ar would have been the best option. The Elder dismisses this idea. Rebellion is not the way of the Strontians. With his dying breath, he praises Kallark's devotion to duty.
Kallark returns to Majestor T'korr, telling the Emperor that his mission was accomplished and the Council of Elders is dead. When asked about the fate of the other Cadets, K tells T'korr that they fell in battle... which is true. Harrald isn't dead but he did fall. T'korr realizes that Kallard knew about the whole "blowing up Strontia's sun" thing. The Majestor tells his new Imperial Guard member that he isn't a cruel man. The weight of an empire rests on his shoulders and sometimes hard decisions have to be made. T'korr presents Kallark with a swanky new cape and puts him in charge of the Imperial Guard as Praetor. Finally, he gives the Strontian a brand new name: Gladiator.
Gladiator recalls that T'korr was a good emperor. Hard as hell, but an emperor that put his people before himself. He wonders where Vulcan would fall in the scales of good emperors and bad but then decides that it really doesn't matter. He's not here to choose sides. He's here to serve. He's one of only two living Strontians now. He's Gladiator and he here to do his duty. With that, he grabs the snipers bullet out of the air right before it's about to strike Vulcan. A moment later, he unleashes his eye beams on the would-be assassin. Duty done.
Writers: Chrisos N. Gage
Penciler: Carlo Magno
In this story, King Blastaar raids a labor camp for new recruits and then turns his sights on his home world. Blastaar's daddy happens to rule this homeworld and decides that the only way to stop this attack is to take on his son. During the fight, the two just can't stop talking about their history. In the end, Blastaar comes out the victor and subjects his people to slavery at the hands of his army. Blastaar also makes plans to betray his positive universe allies, the Kree.
This whole story takes place in the Negative Zone which is much different than the Positive Zone. Mostly, people are much angrier and everything has an extra electron. You might remember that the Negative Zone made a play to conquer the normal universe under the super powerful Annihilus. Annihilus is long gone now and the main contender for power in the Negative Zone is a dude called Blastaar. King Blastaar is being supported by the Kree from the positive universe. With the Kree's support, Blastaar has consolidated a good power in the NZ. I believe this story takes place before the Guardians of the Galaxy storyline where Blastaar and his army conquer Prison 42. Right now, Blastaar is still putting together his forces.
To that end, his army attacks a Drulag Labor Camp. These guys haven't got the news that there's a new king in town. They're more worried that Annihilus has returned and don't see Blastaar as a threat. That'll change soon. He takes over the camp but still doesn't have the respect of the people.
One person is sort of an intellectual. He recalls the fact that Blastaar is sort of a D class villain. He was overthrown by his people and his current army is ragtag at best. All they've got going for them is powerful weapons. Blastaar explains that they were provided by the Kree but that just allows the intellectual to proclaim that he wouldn't be anywhere without help and is doomed to failure in the long run. Blastaar blasts the intellectual's face off.
Blastaar gives his speech to everyone. He's not upper class. He's a man of the people. If they join him, they will be part of the winners and they can oppress those who once oppressed them. This leads to the second dude to disrespect him. A prisoner turns his back on Blastaar and decides that he doesn't want to be part of this army. He just wants to go off and party the night away. Blastaar fires on him as the guy is walking away.
After that, everyone decides it's better to join up than lose their lives. It's a motivated army.
So motivated that they end up attacking Baluur. This is Blastaar's homeworld and is currently ruled by Grondaar, his father. Blastaar has inside information of Baluur's defenses so the attack goes quite well for the invaders. When Grondaar learns that they are being attacked by his own son, he deflects any chance of retreat and runs out to face his son personally. Blastaar quickly accepts a one on one confrontation for the fate of the planet.
The battle itself isn't important. The two have similar powers and the combat goes back and forth, back and forth. The important bit is the background information we're given during the slugfest. Grondaar led the battle against his son's rule after the people begged him. Blastaar's rule was obviously very neglectful of the needs of the Baluurans. Grondaar took the planet back and then named a new successor to the throne but is not able to end his son's life. When the planet was overtaken by invaders, Blastaar was asked to return and free his people. This brought everything back to his oppressive rule which led eventually to another overthrow where Grondaar finally returned to the throne to rebuild his world.
Grondaar gains the upperhand but, just like always, is unable to kill his son. He asks his son to yield and give up. This is not top on Blastaar's list of things to do today. In defiance, he explodes his powers upward, taking out his father... probably permanently since the body falls to the ground with the head smoking.
The people of Baluur are ready to follow the terms of the fight and serve their new king but that, too, isn't on Blastaar's agenda. The people are imprisoned and given over for sport and servitude to his army. The elites are cast down.
And who else is elite out there? What about his positive universe backers, the Kree? They'll share the same fate as Baluur. Blastaar won't serve them long.
Dark X-Men: The Beginning #1
Writer: Paul Cornell
Penciler: Leonard Kirk
In 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 Uncanny X-Men #513, 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 Dark X-Men 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.
Now, it's time to meet a few of the Dark X-Men and learn more about them and why they joined this particular team.
In the first story, Norman Osborn is very curious to find out why Namor joined up after their little fight from Dark Avengers #6, Namor takes a really long shower as Ozzy watches, the two fight it out, Namor chooses to remain naked the entire time, Norman thinks he's got Namor's number, and Namor finally puts on his uniform to get down to some X-Business.
In Dark Avengers #6, Norman demanded that Namor turn on his own people (the Atlanteans) and lead a mission to capture some underwater terrorists. Namor refused and this lead to a big shouting match between the two that was witnessed by other members of the Cabal. Norman went ahead with the mission without Namor's consent and the two haven't really spoken since. This makes it awkward when Namor shows up and joins Norman's Dark X-Men team at Emma Frost's request. Norman doesn't know what to make of this.
Ms. Hand tells Osborn about Namor's part in the Dark X-Men's first mission. The Sub-Mariner went after Sunspot and, apparently, headbutted the New Mutant. Osborn is ok with that. Sunspot is kind of freaky looking when he's powered up. The public would definitely approve. The Iron Patriot is more concerned with Namor's past dealing with him and his Avengers. Particularly the part when Oz sent the Sentry to kill that group of Atlantean terrorists. HAMMER's got bugs all over monitoring Namor but they haven't picked anything up. The Atlantean is just very calm. That should be your first clue that something's up.
Norman thought he had burned his bridges with Namor. And here he is. It's time to watch the guy shower. No really. The bulk of this story now takes place in the shower room where Namor is wasting all of HAMMER's hot water. It's good to note that Namor derives a good deal of his strength from being wet. That means Norman is facing him down at his strongest. It's also interesting to note that not only is this a power thing for Namor but he might be feeling particularly dirty for working with the likes of the former Green Goblin and just isn't feeling clean. Whatever your metaphors, Namor is taking a long shower and Norman's watching. And talking.
Norman asks Namor about the whole Atlantean terrorist thing. Tells him he finds it odd that, after nearly agreeing with the terrorists, Namor joined up with a HAMMER backed X-Men team after Norman sent the Sentry to exterminate the terrorist cell. Norman wasn't even aware that Namor was a mutie. As Norman tries to hand the Sub-Mariner a towel to cover his shame, he wonders what got Namor to join a mutant squad. Was it Emma? Was it the fact that it would be nice for someone to tell him what to do?
Which is the wrong thing to say, obviously.
Osborn is finally attacked but Namor's rage passes quickly. Norman goes on to talk about how Namor is two things just like Norman is. Now, this is true. Namor is two things. He's also four things. Possibly eight things. He's a lot of things.
Namor has an Atlantean mother and a surface man father. He's a mutant. He's a villain. He's a hero. He probably seperates his greens and his blues. He's a member of the Cabal and a member of the Illuminati. Norman is specifically talking about the super villain/ super hero thing. It's a journey Osborn thinks he's made. Namor's made it as well.
And now, he's making the transition from Atlantean to mutant. In Norman's world, that means he's fighting for a cause that has a chance of success. Kinda. I mean, there are only about 198 mutants and I'm betting Atlantis' numbers are a bit higher than that. But, y'know, winning.
Namor sees the chemistry between Emma and Namor and thinks they'd be good together and they could fight a cause that's worth fighting and has a chance of success. This is all about the Oz man trying to make Namor an ally again. He's also taking charge and marking territory.
You'll also notice that Norman is drawing a lot of conclusions without Namor really saying a word. Namor's still not willing to be lead around on a leash by Norman but he's not denying anything, either. That leads Norman to believe he's on the money. Namor's not a threat to him or his operations.
Not only that, Osborn believes that he now has power over the Monarch of Atlantis. He greenlights Namor into his X-Men team and we get a nice team shot of the Dark X-Men running off to their next engagement.
Writer: James Asmus
Penciler: Jesse Delperdang
In this story, we get a little more insight into the Mimic. We see him rise from the grave in the beginning of the story, get numerours pictures from his troubled life, get a few more pictures leading to him getting help for his bipolar disorder, and end with him getting an offer from Norman to join his X-Men.
Honestly, this story is all over the place and is more various flashbacks and images than a real story. It's the story of Calvin Rankin, the Mimic, trying to turn down a role in the Dark X-Men. Or, at least, trying to be clear on why he'd be a bad fit for the team.
It begins with Mimic rising from the ground. The narration leads us to believe this isn't the first time Calvin has risen from the dead and that's because he does it a lot. Maybe his second mutation is the ability to not die permanently. Like Mr. Immortal, actually. Or maybe that's just one of the side powers he's been blessed with. Mimic actually can steal powers from any mutant in range and permantly has the powers of Cyclops, Beast, Angel, Ice-Man, and Jean Grey. Maybe because of this he's also sort of unstable.
We get some images of him in a science lab, losing his cool at a diner, and crying his eyes out after drinking a bottle of whiskey. The next page gives us images of his... success... at being a super hero. He faced off against the Hulk and died of radiation poisoning, got his mind whiped by Xavier, fought a losing battle with Wolverine, and eventually found himself on Muir Island.
While on Muir Island, Moira MacTaggert diagnosed him with bipolar disorder. He started taking medication for his condition and things improved.
Things don't happen in chronological order here. Mimic explains how his powers work and we learn that there's a big problem with them. He can pick up lots of abilities but that doesn't mean that he has the training to handle these powersets and, many times, he doesn't exactly choose then they get activated. We have shots of him as a Brotherhood member teaming up with the X-Men and fighting with Cerebro back when it came to life, meeting up with X-Force in Siberia, and confronting the original X-Men line-up. We also see him accidentally blasting a woman in the back when his eye beams suddenly go live.
Calvin has tried to escape all of this but there are super powered people all over. We jump back to his meeting with X-Force where he gained the powers of Sunspot just because he was in the area. Basically, Mimic keeps a lot of these powers inside of him but lacks the fine control that they bring to the table. He worries that he'll accidentally hurt someone.
Which leads us back to Norman Osborn and his offer.
After that glowing sales pitch, Norman thinks that Mimic would be a perfect member of his new X-Men squad. Mwahahaha.
Actually, I really like Mimic and hope he sticks around this time. I love those classic Silver Age heroes. This is the sixth X-Man. He could use some panel time!
Writer: Shane McCarthy
Penciler: Ibraim Roberson
In this story, Norman tracks Dark Beast down, we see the results of an experiment gone wrong, Osborn gives Dark Beast the offer, DB refuses, Ozzy offers him a delicious experiment opportunity, correlations are made between Dark Beast and Osborn, and a deal is struck!
Dark Beast is from the Age of Apocalpyse. He's about 20 years older than normal Beast, has grey fur, and didn't get the cat-like second mutation that took over our Hank McCoy. He's also totally evil.
Norman Osborn can respect that. He's kinda evil himself. Ozzy comes in full armor but quickly takes it off. Dark Beast senses him coming to his secret labs and is able to hide before America's top cop comes in to pay him a visit.
What Norman finds only slighty disturbs hims. It's a dead girl on a table. Experiment. Dark Beast jumps down when he's accused of kidnapping kids. This was actually part of a deal. A rich uncle gave the life of his niece of if he could live from some terminal illness. DB was actually hoping that the girl would show some sign of mutation and survive but, nope. Dead girl on a table.
Still, it's not a total loss for the creepy, mutant scientist. Sometimes failed experiments yield surprising results. Like... say... when someone exposed themselves to goblin juice and flew around town in a green and purple costume throwing pumpkin bombs at people.
For some reason, Norman is surprised that McCoy knows that he's a former Green Goblin but... well, it's not a secret. He even came out on national tv in Dark Avengers and admitted as much. This isn't a national secret at all. Anyway, it's time to get to the point. Norman wants Dark Beast to join his Dark X-Men team. Mutants need to be controlled and DB is just the dude to do it.
McCoy has no interest in that jazz until Norman mentions that he'll be able to conduct experiments on a mutant. That's a rare thing in this day and age. Michael Pointer's powers are a bit out of control. Norman has some ideas floating around about using these powers to limit the power of other mutants. The idea of working on another mutant makes McCoy intrigued.
Beast is more interested in talking to Norman at this point. He claims to be Ozzy's biggest fan and is intrigued with how Norman has experimented on himself. He tosses the dead girl's body off his operating table and tries to get Oz to give him a taste of the Green Goblin.
Norman almost gives in before regaining control. It's all about that bit of control, after all. It keeps you able to do your work and get the accolades of the public. It keeps you out of dingy labs like this and lets you do your thing out in the open. Dark Beast isn't willing to compromise his work to gain better living quarters but that's not Norman's angle at all.
It's about not telling everyone everything you're doing. DB can do his despicable experiments. He just needs to not tell everyone about them. Keep it hidden, keep it safe.
Dark Beast likes what he hears and working on a mutant is just icing on the cake. Heck, he might be able to remind Norman Osborn just how exciting it is to work in a lab. That would just make his day.
X-Men Legacy #226
Writer: Mike Carey
Penciler: Dustin Weaver
Remember that little review of Dark Avengers/ Uncanny X-Men: Utopia I wrote up above for Dark X-Men: The Beginning? This comic takes place during that comic. There were quite a few riots happening all over the city and various X-Men were trying to calm them down and police the city while the Dark Avengers deployed to shut everyone down.
This issue, Rogue, Gambit, and Danger get drawn into the conflict. Cyclops deploys them to hotspots throughout the city where they work to save lives and stop violence. Gambit rescues a mutant known as Trance who's taken away by Onyxx and Ariel. Rogue faces off against the new Ms. Marvel. Gambit, Rogue, and Danger duke it out with Ares before taking a HAMMER vehicle and cruising the city in style.
Cyclops has called Rogue and friends back in to help them control the riots in San Francisco. Rogue's listened and the three are making some good time flying towards the city. Not good enough for Scott, though. He sends in Pixie to teleport them in faster. Don't ask what happens to their suped up jet. It doesn't make the trip with them. The X-Men lose so many supped up jets.
Rogue was once one of the many squad leaders of the various X-Men teams. Her team was the fast response team that pretty much fell apart going into Messiah Complex. At the end of that debacle, Rogue left without saying a word which is just bad form since the X-Men had gone in to rescue her a few times during the X-over.
She's riding with some bad company, too. Gamibit was a member of Sinister's Marauders and, while that was all a plan to help Rogue out, it's not public knowledge and he did some dirty dealing throughout, good or bad. Danger... she's got her own deal and started off as a pretty bad super villain since she's an embodiment of the Danger Room and, as such, has been trying to kill the X-Men from their first issue.
So when Rogue tries to vouch for her companions, it doesn't mean much. Luckily, Cyclops doesn't have time looking in the mouths of gift horses. He just needs the help and his desperation might be showing for summoning this trio. He lets them in on what's going down right now. Riots, Dark Avengers, food, folks, and fun. He needs them on the streets trying to keep order. Rogue tells Cyclops to let them know where to go and they'll do what they can.
While we cut to a scene change, we get a good view of that really cool Venom/ Colossus fight. It's not here for any real reason. It's just a great visual.
Rogue's team is sent to recover Indra and Trance. The Cuckoos located them somewhere near 16th and Guerrero. Now, they just need to find their lost mutants.
What turns out to be more dangerous than the rioter is HAMMER. Their assault vehicles don't really work to supress riots and they're endangering more lives than saving. Danger ends up stopping an assault vehicle from running down a little kid by blasting it up.
Elsewhere, one of our lost mutants has ended up with a pretty bad crowd. Trance is hanging out with Toad and Dragoness. This is probably before Townbee gets taken down by Cyclops but this comic has a bunch of continuity errors so this might be one of them. The three are chased down by HAMMER Agents and Trance is tazed in the middle of using her powers. This gets her stuck between her physical form and her astral form. The HAMMER Agents are only concerned that they may get in trouble for killing a mutie but that'll change. Soon, they'll be concerned with how much Gambit is going to kick their tails in.
Once the fight is over (which is quickly), Gambit tries to help Trance out but doesn't really know what to do. He thinks that Beast might be able to help but, apparently, no one told Remy that Beast was arrested long before these riots got under way. No matter, Ariel and Onyxx show up to take Trance away to someone who can help. Onyxx used to be on Gambit's training squad but he doesn't recognize Ariel. She's the teleporter in this situation and hasn't made any appearances outside of the Fallen Angels mini-series from the eighties. Someone deputized her and it's probably for her teleporting abilities.
Rogues search for Indra has led to another group of fallen HAMMER agents. Rogue decides to use her powers to figure out what happened here and risks touching a HAMMER agent. What she sees is pretty typical HAMMER behavior. They tried taking Indra down with force only to find out he was a pretty powerful individual. He armored up and beat the pulp out of them.
Rogue's in the middle of congratulating the still missing mutant when she's forced into a very bad situation. The Dark Avengers' Ms. Marvel just came on the scene and it looks very much like Rogue is the one who beat up the HAMMER agents.
Karla Sofen isn't here to make a quick arrest and doesn't give Rogue a chance to bolt. She just starts blasting and doesn't even worry that the unconcious HAMMER agents are in her sights. This battle is pretty onesided. Rogue no longer has the powers she stole from the real Ms. Marvel way back in the day. There's no super strength or flying. All she's got is her original mutant power to steal other's powers.
That means she's gonna have to get tricky to avoid arrest. She grabs a machine gun from the floor and, instead of pointlessly firing it at Ms. Marvel, she aims for the skylights. The glass shards crash down on Karla who goes intangible. Rogue uses this as a distraction to run right through the Avenger, crash though a window and run out. She gets hit by lots of glass shards but is still able to escape.
Down on Castro Street, the mutants and former mutants are barricading off their portion of the city and trying to prevent HAMMER from entering. Gambit enters the scene and tries to calm the protesters down. They're about to get violent. Remy's trying to keep them from that. Just then, HAMMER gets orders to fall back and let this little fight be solved by a god of war. Never mind that Ares is supposed to be protecting City Hall right now. Somehow, he also ended up down at the Castro and he's fighting made. He sweeps the crowd away with the handle of his axe.
Avalanche is one of the few mutants on hand and tries his best to stop the Avenger. It's no use. Ares walks right through the exploding street and has his hands around Avalanche's throat in moments. That's when Gambit changes sides. Remy fares a bit better against the god of war and is even able to collapse a building on top of the Avenger. It's the building's collapse that gets the attention of Danger and Rogue. It hardly gets the attention of Ares.
Remy is backhanded out of the fight. While Danger goes to his rescue, Rogue takes up the battle. She tries her best to steal Ares' strength but finds herself overloaded by the god's powers. Danger and Gambit help to break the connection between Ares and Rogue by charging up a manhole cover and throwing it full speed into the Avenger.
Rogue recovers herself and finds that she's got quite a bit of power at hand. They decide to make the most of it while the war god is still staggering to his feet. Rogue throws aside the nearest HAMMER Agents and then the trio goes about stealing their vehicle.
It's a pretty sweet ride.
As the three drive off, they're contacted by Mindee of the Stepford Cuckoos. It seems that Trance never made it to... Dr. McCoy. Mindee, you know he's already been captured! It turns out she just found that out, actually. Anyway, they've still got to find Indra but Trance is still out there somewhere as well. The night's still young and there are mutants to rescue.
Ms. Marvel #41
Writer: Brian Reed
Artist: Sergio Ariño
Last issue, AIM hires Deadpool to retrieve a second batch of MODOK babies, Ms. Marvel and the Dark Avengers fight an orange glowy chick, Norman discovers the MODOK babies and they're moved to T-Bolts Mountain, Spider-Man encounters a green glowy chick, Wolverine and Luke Cage meet the a purple glowy chick, and we learn that there's a connection between all these rainbow glowy women and Carol Danvers.
This issue, Deadpool takes out a lot of HAMMER Agents and steals some MODOK babies. Spider-Man follows the green glowy chick to a storage container and meets up with Wolverine, a bunch of MODOK babies, and more glowy chicks. Spidey learns that the glowy chicks are all Ms. Marvel. The real one: Carol Danvers. Norman Osborn confronts his Ms. Marvel, Dr. Karla Sofen, about Deadpool killing lots of HAMMER Agents while liberating the MODOK babies. Karla tracks down Deadpool and the two fight it out before she gets a signal from the MODOK babies and runs off to a confrontation between AIM and the New Avengers. The MODOK babies are all put in one place and use their powers to reassemble Ms. Marvel while Dark Ms. Marvel fails to stop the whole thing.
We left Deadpool surrounded by HAMMER Agents poised to shoot him. Wade was hired by Monica Rappacinni, AIM's Scientist Supreme, to steal a group of MODOK babies from a HAMMER facility. It's well defended but this is Deadpool. He makes very short work of the HAMMER Agents before teleporting back to Rappacinni to deliver those MODOK babies. Mission Accomplished. Now, he just needs to locate the missing babies.
Spidey was confronted by that green glowy chick last issue and witnessed her fire off a green beam that looked an awful lot like the lightning bolt on Carol Danver's most recent Ms. Marvel costume. Since then, Spider-Man has been followed green glowy chick around town and to the shipyard in Queens. She directs him to a storage container where Spidey meets up with...
Wolverine, those missing MODOK babies, and a bunch more glowy chicks. Logan and Peter haven't really figured out what's going on but Wolverine has already figured out that these glowy chicks are all part of Ms. Marvel. Spider-Man catches on when the glowy women pull themselves together enough to speak some english and declare that little thing. We're all still confused.
The glowing green lightning bolt that convinced Spider-Man that the green glowy chick was worth following is still glowing. Karla Sofen, the Dark Ms. Marvel, comes across it and is able to suss some thing out on her own. She returns to Avengers Tower where she gets a chewing out by Norman Osborn. Karla had originally stored a bunch of MODOK babies in her room in the Tower but Norman removed them to a safe location in Thunderbolts Mountain after one of the glowy chicks attacked the Tower looking for them. Those MODOK babies were guarded by one hundred seven HAMMER Agents, all of which were killed when Deadpool retrieved them for AIM. Osborn blames the entire fiasco on the person who brought those babies to his attention.
Sofen isn't familiar with Deadpool but he doesn't make her Facebook friends list after she learns he made off with her MODOK babies. She updates Norman on her theory that the orange glowy chick that attacked the tower was Carol Danvers before flying off to T-Bolts Mountain to investigate. While there, we learn that Karla is still pretty obsessed with those MODOK babies.
It doesn't take long for HAMMER to figure out Deadpool's teleport signature and for Sofen to track Wade back Los Angeles. She calls the thing into Norman but isn't waiting around for backup. This is part of the baby obsession. It's common for women her age.
Still, this is Deadpool. Sure, he's pretty badass in a fight and all but Karla's got him out powered by quite a bit. The former Moonstone is a heavy hitter. She can phase through and attack Wade can deliver and bring a lot of pain at the same time. Ms. Marvel bats Deadpool around LA for a while before noticing something more important. The MODOK babies are talking in her head. She knows just where to go.
AIM's underground headquarters is already under siege by the New Avengers and a bunch of green glowy chicks. They're here to get the rest of the MODOK babies. Karla flies in and realizes that she's got a lot of competition if she's going to take possession of the MODOK babies. Spidey's got the first batch and is trying to bring them in contact with the ones Deadpool captured for AIM. Ms. Marvel tries to stop him but she finds herself blocked by the glowy chicks.
Spider-Man's getting some direction from the MODOK babies and figures out that they want him to hook them all up to the Storyteller machine. The New Avengers are able to stall Karla while Peter finishes up his work. The MODOK babies work their magic, reassembling the glowy chicks into the whole form of Ms. Marvel.
Dark Ms. Marvel is not pleased.
Skrull Kill Krew #3
Writer: Adam Felber
Pencilers: Mark Robinson & Rob Disalvo
Last issue, 3-D Man showed up and got dissed by Ryder, Riot goes on a date, the Krew attends a reverse rodeo where they kill a lot of Skrulls with the help of Wolverine who's there for other reasons, Riot gets her shapeshifting powers back, Ryder brings Moonstomp back to life, and Super tries really hard to forget that he ever read this comic.
This issue, Reichardt goes over the Skrull Kill Krew data, Moonstomp pulls himself back together, Riot get a date with a Skrull, Moonstomp goes black and never comes back, the remaining members of the Krew come back to life, the Krew crashes a ritzy Skrull party and takes no prisoners, multiple Wolverines fight to the death, and Reichardt reveals to the Krew that they are now, technically, Skrulls. They need to kill themselves now. No going back on that title.
In the first issue of this series, we learned that Ryder was a Skrull after Agent Riechardt tested his DNA in a HAMMER lab. She hasn't told Ryder this vital bit of information but is continuing to go over evidence available on the Skrull Kill Krew. Basically, no one cared about them back in the day, war were declared, suddenly the Krew was relevant, and, now that the war is over, they aren't so relevant again. They won't get much HAMMER support but they probably deserve to know the truth.
Moonstomp is regrowing his body but that's a slow process. While he does that, we get a look at the rest of the living members of the Krew. Riot's back to looking human and clubbing it up trying to get as many dates as possible. 3-D Man actually has his stuff together so, naturally, he's not really a member of the Krew. Ryder's getting pretty good at tracking down Skrull cells and the current ones are from the original Skrull Cows. Kids or something. They breed like Skrull Rabbits.
Riot's about town working on picking up women. She spies a particular hot number and makes her move only to realize, too late, that she's actually found a Skrull. The Skrull girl is in to it, though, and takes her information. That ought to be an interesting date.
Moonstomp's finally pulled together a body and has a violent confrontation with Ryder involving necrophilia and his former girlfriend, Catwalk. Moonstomp is a white supremacist a-hole so it's poetic justice that he is now a black man. That doesn't make him a nice guy.
Riot's off getting herself a Skrull Kill Krew tattoo when her future Skrull date calls up to schedule something. Riot's pretty happy about that even though you know it's gonna end all wierd. She shows off her new shapeshifting control to the tat artist who thinks it's all kinds of cool.
Meanwhile, Moonstomp is learning that being black just means he gets to beat up white supremacists. He looks up some old friends and beats the crap out of them.
Riot returns to Ryder's place to find that Ryder's been working on reviving the rest of the Skrull Kill Krew. Dice is still pulling himself together on the floor but Catwalk has already grown herself a body. She just lacks clothes because Ryder didn't give her any. On purpose. These two used to date. Riot pulls Dice from the room so that Catwalk and Ryder can have some alone time.
The Krew gathers a few hours later to get their latest attack all coordinated. Riot's got the details. Party in Hollywood Hills. High class Skrulls. Dice asks if they know that these are bad guys and gets a knock to the head from Moonstomp. They're all bad Skrulls to him and to the rest of the Krew as well.
Ryder, Catwalk, and Riot attend the party while Dice and Moonstomp stakeout the perimeter. Inside, Ryder is unable to locate a single human. This is an all Skrull party. Ryder prepares to make a speech while, outside, Dice and Moonstomp have a close encounter from the Wolverine kind.
For some reason, this is surprising to them.
Inside, the fight is getting itself on. Riot actually meets her date at the entryway and wards her away. Turns out she doesn't actually want to kill the Skrull that agreed to date her. No other Skrull is that lucky. The Krew gets their gamefaces on and the battle is on.
Wolverine joins in but is soon confronted by... Wolverine. The two Logans fight it out while the Krew takes care everyone else. The Kill Krew takes off while the Wolverine, both revealed to be Skrulls, continue to fight to the death. The team is more concerned about getting some food.
Dice is the only one not exactly happy with today's battle. In reforming his body, he came to some sort of spiritual enlightenment. He recognizes this fight for what it really is. The Skrull Kill Krew are murderers. They just choose to murder aliens. This seems to move Riot who ends up following her date home.
Moonstomp begins to realize that his Kill Krew members may not be as hardcore as he'd like. The former white supremacist just really wants to kill people.
Back at Ryder's place, Catwalk and Ryder are about to have a meeting with Reichardt. She just comes out and tells them. Their DNA has been completely altered by the agressive alien DNA in the Skrull Burgers they ate a long while back. It turns out that now, on a genetic level, they are actually Skrulls.
They might need to not kill themselves.
The Amazing Spider-Man #39
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciler: John Romita Sr.
This issue, Green Goblin prepares to face Spider-Man, Peter visits the doctor, Harry Osborn gets yelled at by his father, Peter and Harry bond for the first time ever, Spidey gets into a fight with a bunch of crooks and gets hit with a gas bomb that removes his spidey-sense, Green Goblin follows Spidey around town until he learns Spider-Man's secret identity, Spidey gets attacked by GG right outside Aunt May's place, gets himself captured, and learns that Green Goblin is none other than Norman Osborn! Gasp!
The issue opens with a very Green Goblin ranting about his latest plan to strike against Spider-Man. Green Goblin had been out of action since the Crime-Master debacle in ASM #'s 26 & 27. He decides that it's time to come out and get into as much trouble as possible. He's not after money or power. He's out to ruin the life of his mortal enemy. Spider-Man. They've fought a few times.
Meanwhile, Spidey isn't thinking about the Green Goblin at all. Peter's got a stuffed up head and is swinging across town to visit the doctor. After he's gottena check up from the family physician, that same doc scares the hell out of him by telling an already chronically worried Peter Parker that his Aunt isn't strong and should not be exposed to any form of excitement. In fact, the slightest breeze could have her life come crashing to an end. Worry, Parker! Worry like hell!
As Peter Parker worries his life away, Norman Osborn makes his second appearance in a Marvel Comic. This time, he's driving his son to his college classes because that must be something fathers did in the sixties. Harry is all concerned about his dad's feelings and wants to have a personal relationship with the man who gave him life but, as we all know, that's not how Norman rolls. He's not about those hippy things like emotions and free love. I mean, yeah, he'll bang every woman in Spidey's cast but that doesn't mean he actually cares about them or anyone else. It's all Norman, all the time. He's probably got mirrors everywhere.
Norman chews his son out for being too hippy and drives off to do important things. Next time, Harry will have to deal with a chauffer. Harry is a bit hippy and is sad that his dad cares more about important things than him. He sulks his way to class, ignoring all his friends in the process. Once in class, he nearly has it out with Peter Parker who is decidedly NOT his friend. Still, Harry's hippy ways are showing and he quickly apologizes to Peter. Harry tells Peter all about his dad while Peter shares the story about how he's an orphan and deserves a lot more pity. In the background, Gwen Stacy thinks of the possibilities of hooking up with Peter Parker while Flash Thompson gains a little respect for his high school punching bag. Also, a little anger. Flash is a complicated guy... except he's not really.
Later on, Spidey is out for a swing around town when he encounters a bunch of criminals criming it up on the roof of a building in plain sight of anyone just swinging by. Peter sets up his automatic camera and goes to work beating the tar out of crime. It's a nice, long fight scene. Two pages in, Peter realizes that he's out risking his life when Aunt May is about to die from the toast popping up too fast. Regret and terror fill his heart which allows the bad guys to rally. One hood throws a gas bomb at our hero which we learn will remove his spider-sense. The hoods think that it'll be the advantage they need to take Spider-Man down but it turns out that it's just one step in Green Goblin's complicated plan.
Spider-Man breaths the gas in deeply but it doesn't stop him from beating up the criminals, wrapping them up for the police, and swinging away. He's got some film to sell so he doesn't swing far before landing and changing into his Peter Parker clothes. Since his spider-sense isn't around to warn him of danger, Green Goblin gets a good look at Peter changing identities. Peter could swear he hears the loud motor of a flying Goblin Glider but, since his spider-sense stays calm, he just believes he's imagining things. Still, he worries that he might be losing his powers... or at least that spidey-sense.
Entering the Bugle, Peter ties up some loose ends as he makes peace with Ned Leeds. They'd been long rivals for the heart of Betty Brant but Peter's nearly come to the conclusion that Brant is a crazy girlfriend with deep emotional issues. Ned can have her. He makes some serious bank selling the rooftop battle pics to JJJ and then hits the streets once again to return home.
Green Goblin is following him this entire time. He may know what Spidey looks like outside his costume but that doesn't mean he knows who Spider-Man IS. In fact, Green Goblin doesn't know Peter Parker. He ends up following Peter right up to Aunt May's house before dropping out of the sky to confront his mortal enemy. By this point, he's listened in long enough to at least get Parker's name.
Peter realizes how vulnerable he is and is incredibly surprised to learn that the Goblin figured out his secret identity. Peter doesn't have his spider-sense and isn't wearing his web shooters. Green Goblin has him right where he wants him and uses every trick in the book to keep Peter on his toes.
Peter's got the additional worry that he might make too much noise and put his aunt, who's up waiting for him in the nearest house, into cardiac arrest. Inside the Forest Hills home, Aunt May worries that Peter might have gotten into some trouble and nearly dies for thinking scary thoughts. It's a wierd family.
It takes some time but Peter doesn't have any advantage in the battle and comes out the loser. Green Goblin ties him up and brings him to the Goblin's secret lair. Once inside, Peter wakes up to find himself tied securely to a chair with a ranting super-villain looming over him. It's curtains for our favorite wall crawler and, just to reveal last minute secrets, Green Goblin peels back his mask to show Peter who his eventual killer is gonna be.
It's Norman Osborn. Of course!
Wait, who's Norman Osborn? You can tell by that brillo hair that he's related to a regular in this comic... he's got a name... OH! Harry! That guy who was a big jerk before this issue! It's probably his dad! Peter figures this out and is simply shocked. SHOCKED!
If he were Aunt May, he'd be dying about now.
The Amazing Spider-Man #40
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciler: John Romita Sr.
In this comic, Norman shares his tragic origin tale for us as he reveals himself to be a crappy dad, and villainous businessman, a crazy super-villain, and more! Aunt May worries over Peter and nearly dies as the phone almost rings! Peter Parker breaks free of his bonds and fights Green Goblin to the death! OK, not really. He does bash him about really hard and makes Norman forget that he's the Green Goblin. That's sort of like death, right? Aunt May worries herself into a life and death situation but is saved by the family physician! Peter returns home and gets waited on hand and foot by her Aunt... who is at death's door! Norman Osborn recovers and establishes a relationship with his hippy son.
Green Goblin is frickin' insane. You might not have realized that before but it takes a very special individual to fly around town on a Goblin Glider while wearing a goblin suit for no other reason that to fight it out with Spider-Man. Norman's not in it for money. He ain't doing this for power. This is all about kicks. He just likes fighting Spider-Man. Sure, he once tried to get New York's gangs to follow him around but he was always more concerned about fighting it out with Peter Parker. Now, he knows who Peter is. Fair's fair. Norman showed Peter who he is. He believes that he'll kill Peter soon enough that the revelation won't have any lasting consequences. We all know better.
Peter is tied up and needs some time to free himself. To that end, he goads Norman into revealing the Secret Origin of the Green Goblin! It turns out Norman was always a crappy father. He was more worried about building his business... supposedly for his son's benefit... than actually caring for his kid. No wonder Harry grew up to be a damn dirty hippy with feelings and everything. Norman never beat those feeling out of him. Harry never wanted for anything. Norman bought him stuff and spent some quality time with his son but it was always like a business for him. They weren't allowed to actually talk about things and his mind was always elsewhere. Harry grew up lonely with nothing else to do except develop emotions.
Osborn used to be business partners with Wendell Strom until he found a way to remove his partner from the playing field. This is why, later on, Strom returned as the Robot Master looking for revenge. While Strom was in prison, Norman has free reign over the scientist's files. Being sort of a scientist himself, Norman continues working on the formulas. After turning down a chance to hang out with his son at school, Norman stayed in his lab making science until one of those experiments exploded in his face. He ended up in the hospital with inoperable brain damage. He started off as just a brutal, ruthless businessman. Now, he was certifiably insane... it's just no one realized that yet.
Harry visited him at the hospital like any caring son would do but Norman was even more bitter to him now. Any sense of love for his offspring was gone as the Goblin began taking over. Norman berated his son the entire time. Once returning home, Ozzy decided the only logical thing to do with his newfound craziness and supposed super strength was to go into the super villain business. He developed his costume and weapons and went into business. We cut back to the present. Norman is through telling his Secret Origin. He's ready to finish Peter off and, by ready, I mean he's ready to prolong killing Peter until our hero can free himself. He demands that Spider-Man beg for his life.
While Peter keeps working on those ropes, we make a few cuts to the rest of our cast. Aunt May has called over her friend, Anna, so that she'll be able to worry about Peter's absence with company over. She waits by the phone, hoping that it will ring and Peter will tell her that he's just running late but know that, if the phone rings, the shock of hearing an abrupt noise could lay her up for months. She finally ends up calling up J Jonah Jameson who has no idea where young Parker could be. He suspects that Peter's out commiting young people shenanigans and plans to write an editorial about how everyone is doing him wrong in some way, shape, or form. Aunt May continues to worry herself to a very late grave.
Betty Brant is in the midwest (probably Iowa) and is at a railroad station on her way back to New York City. Brant is probably related to Peter with all the worrying she's doing. She worries about Spidey. She worries about getting her job back. She worries about what seeing Peter and Ned will be like. She worries that she isn't worrying enough about worrying. It's tough being Betty Brant.
Back at Green Goblin's secret lair, Peter has convinced Green Goblin to do more talking while he works one his ropes. Green Goblin decides that, instead of just describing the next couple scenes, he'll hook himself up to a machine and show the web swinger how there was never a conclusive victory when the Goblin was involved. This basically amounts to flashbacks to every Goblin appearance where we see that Spidey never really did beat the Goblin.
That's because the Goblin always got away. Spider-Man constantly ruined the Green Goblin's plans but never captured the super-villain.
It's time to get a conclusive win from somebody. Green Goblin has known the entire time that Peter was working on his bonds and made no headway. That's ok. Norman always planned on freeing the hero so that they could fight it out one last time. Goblin pulls a lever and Parker is free. Spider-Man quickly changes into his union gear and the battle is on.
Green Goblin keeps the battle long range for a time. This is where Osborn has the advantage. Spidey is able to block most of the stun bombs thrown at him but the battle wears on him. Peter was already knocked unconscious once this night and he's fighting a cold besides. Green Goblin is confident of victory and that makes him sloppy. He closes in to finish the battle and winds up in Peter's range for a good punch or two.
Peter's fighting for not only his life but also for that of his weak, feeble, aunt. Osborn knows his identity and, if Peter falls, it's possible Norman will track down Aunt May and, well, look at her or something. Any little shock will kill her. Spidey's got a good rally to go with and the battle turns to his favor. Goblin regrets not ending Peter's life when he was tied up to a chair but it's too late to turn that clock back. Still, this is Osborn's lab and there are lots of weapons available for his use. Peter's able to dodge them but knows that his luck won't last long unless he ends this thing quickly.
Spider-Man hits Goblin with a flying kick. The manuever sends Norman Osborn flying backward into some live electrical wires. The shock takes Osborn out of the fight and also sets the lab on fire. As all of Norman's secrets go up in smoke, Peter moves in closer to find that Norman Osborn seems to have no knowledge of ever being the Green Goblin. Suddenly, Osborn just wants to see his son.
Spidey trusts his spider-sense (which must have come back or something) and decides that the threat of the Green Goblin is over forever. He undresses Osborn and puts him back in his civilian attire. After burning the Goblin costume, he carries the groggy Osborn out of the fire and into the hands of local fire fighters.
Believing the career of the Green Goblin to be ended, Spider-Man swings away and rushes to return home to a very worried Aunt May. He finds that his doctor is making a house call. It turns out that Aunt May worried herself literally sick. Dr. Bromwell had to come over and sedate her. The doctor scolds Peter for not worrying hard enough about the health of his elderly aunt before leaving.
Peter rushes to May's side, making up some excuse about studying too hard and losing track of the time. This would usually be code for making out with some girl but May knows that Peter doesn't get any play. She believes Peter was actually studying. Peter is a little red in the face from all his excersions as Spidey (he was also just at a fire) and May mistakes this for symptoms of a fever. Even though she almost worried herself into a coma, she orders Peter to lay down as she nurses her completely healthy nephew (ok, he might still have a cold) back to health. Peter protests but not too hard.
Elsewhere, Harry Osborn visits his injured father at the hospital. Norman doesn't remember much of what transpired that night but he promises his son that everything will be awesome from this moment on.
And we're done. Next time, we do some more comics and check in on various Marvel Events!
Until next time: Who Do YOU Trust?