Today, we check out Nova #27, Guardians of the Galaxy #16, Ms. Marvel #42, Dark Wolverine #76, Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #5, Black Panther #6, All New Savage She-Hulk #4 and Blast to the Past with Silver Surfer #4. Enjoy and spread the word!
Not so quick week. Settle in!
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War in space is on. What are our Nova Corps doing about it?
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artist: Andrea DiVito
Last issue, Richard Rider began rescuing separated pockets of the Nova Corps while trying to find his brother, Robert, who went off and got in over his head by interrupting a fight between Lord Ravenous of the Ceded Territories and Strontian of the Shi'ar Dark Imperial Guard.
In this issue, Richard and two other Nova Corps members, Irani and Morrow, head straight into the embattled Ceded Territories on a mission to find and extract Richard's brother and fellow Corps member, Robert. They meet up and have a small tussle with King Blastaar of the Negative Zone before the new king gives them fifteen minutes to fly in, gather up their lost Corpsman, and get outta there. Blastaar also allows Strontian's Dark Imperials the same time limit. Robert wound up arresting Strontian last issue but that arrest is quickly slipping away as his gravimetric force beam starts weakening. By issue's end, Strontian has broken free and, while Robert's (and Lord Ravenous') fate is left up in the air, we're pretty sure Richard's going to kick Strontian's ass.
Richard Rider, Nova Prime of the Nova Corps, flies in quickly to the planet Kree-Lar with fellow Corps members Irani and Morrow accompanying him. Kree-Lar is capital of the Ceded Territories, areas of the Kree Empire that remained in the hands of Annihilus' bug armies under the command of Lord Ravenous. It is currently under heavy attack by Shi'ar forces aided by King Blastaar of the Negative Zone. Blastaar was an ally to the Kree until about five minutes ago when he got a better offer from the Raptor, Talon, over in War of Kings: Ascension. Talon handed over the Cosmic Control Rod with only a few strings attached and now Blastaar, who never really had that much loyalty to the Kree anyway, decided attacking former Kree territories would be the way to go.
The Shi'ar are here as well, led by Strontian, leader of the Dark Imperial Guard. Strontian went in for the king killer move so popular with the Shi'ar at this time but was preventing in bringing death to Lord Ravenous by Robert Rider of the Nova Corps. Now, he's just waiting for back-up before Strontian overpowers and kills him... and then does the same to Lord Ravenous.
To that end, Richard and his crew shoot into the atmosphere of Kree-Lar and then bank at the last minute to skim the shattered surface of the planet. They've intercepted a Nova Corps tracer and, while there's no way of knowing whether it's Robbie or not, Richard is certain he's found his man. Unfortunately, once they're on the surface of Kree-Lar, they lose their connection to the Worldmind and don't have her assistance or analytical backing. Add to that that this is a very hot war zone where Negative Zone troops continue pouring through and, well, things aren't looking pretty. Luckily, Richard isn't here for a fight. He's just here for his brother.
Back in the Kree-Lar throne room, Robbie’s still pinning Strontian to the floor with his gravimetric force beam. It’s taking all of Robbie’s concentration to keep her down and prevent her from opening her eyes. Strontian has the same power set as Gladiator which means she can do pretty much anything she thinks she can. The fact that Robbie has the drop on her is pretty awesome.
Ravenous is pretty grateful for not being completely dead at this point. Robbie offers him protection and extraction from this planet since the Shi’ar are going to have it conquered in a few hours. The problem with this is Robbie would have to let Strontian go in order to leave with Ravenous and then they both get killed. The only hope is that the Nova Corps respond to Robbie’s tracer signal which he reactivated after catching up to Strontian.
While Robbie and Ravenous wait to be rescued, Richard, Morrow, and Irani confront King Blastaar.
Richard isn’t about the fight. He’s not here for one and sees that Blastaar is in possession of the Cosmic Control Rod. He tries to get Blastaar’s attention and remind him that they had once fought together. Turns out that’s exactly why Blastaar shot the Novas out of the sky. Richard is all about the defense but his Nova Corps companions are straight on the attack. Richard orders them to stand down and then works on reasoning with Blastaar… which is kind of amusing in itself.
It’s only after Blastaar realizes that they are only here to rescue the brother of Nova Prime (that’d be Robbie) that the King of the Negative Zone breaks off his attack and allows the three Novas to continue on their mission of peace. For fifteen minutes. After that, he’ll drop the fortress and anyone foolish enough to be hanging around.
The trouble with this is that Strontian’s Dark Imperials (officially known as the Praetorian Elite) aren’t pleased that Blastaar allowed the Novas to continue into the Kree-Lar Throne Citadel. Their leader is in there trying to kill a ruler inside and these Nova Centurions could mess that all up. Blastaar tells them that he’s made a kingly deal that has to be kept just like a king. That means he can send the Dark Imperials inside to play while he and his kingly forces stay back and relax. For fifteen minutes.
Inside, Ravenous tries a futile solution: firing a laser cannon at Strontian. Not only does it fail miserably (Strontian is nigh-invulnerable) but it doesn’t help Robbie maintain his concentration on the Grav-force beam. His nose starts bleeding as Strontian presses her advantage with some taunting. He’s losing it when Richard comes in over com.
Which doesn’t mean things are good. Richard and his Nova Centurions have to fight their way through Ravenous’ army of insects who are preventing the Navas from rescuing their master. While they’re doing that, Robbie updates Richard on his situation. Richard is impressed but realizes that he’s fighting against time, trying desperately to reach his brother before Robbie’s concentration faulters and Strontian is free.
Richard’s com goes dead as the Nova Prime flies quickly the last bit of distance between himself and his brother. He arrives too late. Strontian is free. Ravenous and Robbie Rider are already down. The leader of the Dark Imperials has blood on her hands.
Richard Rider lunges at Strontian in anger. Next issue’s gonna be one big beat down but who’s gonna fall?
Guardians of the Galaxy #16
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Penciler: Wesley Craig
Last issue, we had our very own mini War of Kings with the Inhuman Royal Family squaring off with the Shi’ar Imperial Guard while our heroes, the Guardians of the Galaxy were caught in the middle. Crystal got a telepathic shot of just what threats an intergalactic war could bring to the cosmos before she was returned to the Inhumans. The Inhumans took off but the Shi'ar remained and tried their best to take over Knowhere. Things escalated as Starhawk, the Guardians' time displaced prisoner, was freed by Moondragon and ported out with Star-Lord and company. Some other absent members of Guardians returned to Knowhere just as the severed Celestial head woke up and began delivering warnings.
In this issue, we catch up with the Star-Lord and company as they arrive one thousand years into the future with Starhawk. They get into a battle with the future Guardians of the Galaxy (the ones we’d recognize as the “original” team) before they learn that their floating around at the end of all things in a remnant of the planet earth. Before they can be sent back and make everything right, the Badoon attack and destroy the Guardian’s headquarters (and their time machine). That forces the two Guardian teams to join together in a crazy scheme to send a message to the past by attacking the Badoon’s base of operations: the Celestial Wall. After a message has been sent to warn Adam Warlock in the past, the future Guardians set off a bomb destroying the Celestial Wall and ending everything.
It’s January 12, 3009. The Guardians of the Galaxy have just arrived at Avengers Mansion in the future with a little help from Starhawk and Victor Von Doom’s Time Platform. Up to this point, Starhawk has seemed a whole lot like an enemy so Star-Lord and his Guardians, Jack Flag, Bug, Mantis, and Cosmo, immediately set their sites on taking her down. They’re stopped by the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Fans of the Marvel Universe will know that the current version of the Guardians of the Galaxy isn’t the original team. The first Guardians team was created by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan in a try out tale in the mostly reprint comic Marvel Super-Heroes. The original team was made up of Vance Astro (Major Victory), Charlie 27, Martinex, and Yondu. Starhawk was also an early member of the team though she was a dude back then. They’ve got a rich history with the Marvel Universe and even had their own title back in the nineties when everyone had their own title.
This version of the team are all the original members: Major Victory, Charlie 27, Martinex, and Yondu. They don’t take kindly to their fifth member, Starhawk, being attacked and quickly rush to her defense. The battle is fun and all. We get the good moment where Star-Lord wonders why there’s a Major Victory hanging out in the future when a version of the hero is also a current member of his team. Major Victory blasts Star-Lord out of the building where we all learn that Avengers Mansion isn’t actually connected to that much of earth.
That shocker is enough to get a truce called and get some answers out there. Here’s what Starhawk knows. There is some Error that happens in the past that causes the entire universe to be consumed. Only a small bubble of universe is left untouched and even that part is in a constant state of temporal flux. This is why different versions of Starhawk kept coming to the past. Only she remembered the various iterations of the timeline and had come back time and again trying to change things and make it all right.
The last time, she got caught and had a chance to study the problem from the past. She figured that only someone from the past would be able to change anything and those people would have to know what was going on. This is why she brought Star-Lord and company to the future. They needed to see the problem. It’s pretty damn enormous.
When the Shi’ar and Inhumans ended up on Knowhere, Starhawk discovered that Black Bolt was going to detonate the T-Bomb. THAT is what ends all that is. This frustrates Star-Lord because it’s exactly what the Guardians went to the Inhumans (and Shi’ar) to prevent. He’s ready to go back to make everything right.
They don’t have the chance. It turns out that Starhawk transporting such a large group of people to the future has created a large enough spike to catch the interest of the Badoon. The Badoon are a long time enemy of the Guardians and the only thing left in the future. They’re responsible for this pocket of reality even existing. They destroy the Mansion (and the Time Platform) before anyone has a chance to stop them. Going back is no longer an option.
Starhawk directs everyone to escape to the USS Captain America while she buys them time. She confronts the Badoon directly and unleashes a whole lot of explosive energy. The explosion destroys the Badoon and Starhawk before rippling out and atomizing the rock the Guardians have been living on as the Captain America rockets away.
Now, it’s only a matter of time before the two Guardian teams are tracked down by the rest of the Badoon. Not only that, but Star-Lord’s team is stuck in a very bleak future. Star-Lord is more concerned with preventing this from ever happening but, with the last time machine destroyed, he’s willing to take suggestions on how to fix things.
All he knows is they have to powerful telepaths on their team and that might be the option they’ve been looking for. Cosmo, the Russian Wonder Dog, believes that’s exactly what they need but there’s much more to his plan that just teeping to the past. They need some sort of conduit.
They have one in the Celestial Engine. In order to protect this little pocket of reality, the Badoon somehow captured the last of the Celestials and positioned them around the sun. This Super-Cage of Celestials allows the Badoon to create a Macro Force Field around the solar system to keep the expansion at bay. How does this help the Guardians of the Galaxy? Simple! It turns out that all Celestials are connected by quantum telepathy. This means they can connect back to the severed Celestial head that serves as Guardians headquarters in the past. They just need to make a frontal assault on the Badoon’s stronghold. Which is crazy. Sounds like a plan.
The Guardians aim their ship at the closest Celstial and fly in. The Badoon pick them up pretty quickly and we’re in big space battle territory. The Captain America’s shields are diminished to zero by the time it crashes into the chest of a Celestial.
Which obviously isn’t the end of the battle. The Guardians of the Galaxy teleport in at the last minute. Everyone knows this is a one way ticket. They follow Cosmo as the heads to this Celestial’s brain. Badoons prevent them from keeping close. This is Badoon Central. Cosmo is able to make the most of his four legs and races to the Celestial’s brain alone, using his telepathy to knock out any Badoon he sees.
Once there, he sends this message back to Knowhere: Adam Warlock. Hear me. There is little time. The fate of all existence depends on you…” and so on. We’ll probably get the rest of it next issue but, for now, all we need to know is that Warlock needs to stop the T-Bomb from bombing.
With the message delivered, the Guardians wonder what their next move should be only to learn that the future team already has that mapped out. This is the end game. Now that the past is possibly saved, it’s time to end the future. Major Victory sends a psychokinetic blast out, disrupting the Celestial’s placement in the Celestial Engine. As the Celestial drops into the sun, the future Guardians say a last good bye before the Macro Shield protecting this bubble of reality fails and ends everything left. They also happen to be ON the falling Celestial so there will be burning pretty soon.
Bug asks Star-Lord if their message got through. That’s something they might never know as the Celestial starts on fire.
Ms. Marvel #42
Writer: Brian Reed
Artist: Sana Takeda
Last issue, Deadpool took out a lot of HAMMER Agents and stole some MODOK babies. Spider-Man followed the green glowy chick to a storage container and met up with Wolverine, a bunch of MODOK babies, and more glowy chicks. Spidey learned that the glowy chicks are all Ms. Marvel. The real one: Carol Danvers. Norman Osborn confronted his Ms. Marvel, Dr. Karla Sofen, about Deadpool killing lots of HAMMER Agents while liberating the MODOK babies. Karla tracked down Deadpool and the two fought it out before she got a signal from the MODOK babies and ran off to a confrontation between AIM and the New Avengers. Once the MODOK babies are all in one place, they used their powers to reassemble Ms. Marvel while Dark Ms. Marvel failed to stop the whole thing.
In this issue, the New Avengers welcome Ms. Marvel back into the land of the living just in time for a big super fight to erupt between her and Norman Osborn’s Ms. Marvel. Their fight is all over the place but is mostly in the skies over California. Fights in the skies sometimes wind up messing with commercial airliners and this one does just that as the real Ms. Marvel is thrown into the jet intake of a huge passenger jet. The Sentry arrives to save the jet and to recall Karla Sofen back to Avengers Tower. All this is on the news and gets seen by Catherine Donovan… which was the cover identity for Carol Danvers!
Welcome back Ms. Marvel! I nearly missed you being gone except for the fact that this title got more interesting with Karla front lining. The New Avengers are happy that their teammate is back but they aren’t certain she’s one hundred percent. Carol seems out of it and has no memory of being a bunch of glowy chicks flying around killing people while trying to collect MODOK babies. The last thing she remembers is being in Hong Kong which is where she died.
There’s nothing like a super powered cat fight to get your head in the game and Karla Sofen, the Dark Ms. Marvel is happy to oblige. Carol remembers this part. Karla took an old uniform and her super hero name and joined up with Norman’s Avengers. She’s ready to beat down the former Moonstone for that.
Now, you might be wondering why Karla cares so much. Back in Dark Avengers, she was completely happy just being Moonstone. It looks like someone has learned to enjoy being the hero. It wouldn’t be her first flirtation with that. As a Thunderbolt, Sofen dressed up as Meteorite and played hero in an attempt to fool the public into believing her and her teammates were heroes. It didn’t take. She kept up the game but only because of the chance to commit criminal acts. Once Hawkeye began leading the team, it looked like Sofen actually started caring about doing the right thing and even stayed on the team after Clint left in order to keep doing the right thing. That Karla seemed to be forgotten once Norman took over the T-Bolts and we’ve had a return of the classic Moonstone ever since.
Still, maybe it’s the fact that playing hero allows you to get away with lots of little evil things. The fact is, Karla’s no fan of Carol and it’s a battle all over Los Angeles for the two women. First stop: the La Brea Tar Pits. Karla drops the Avenger into the black gooey stuff and thinks everything is over and done. Not so. We still have lots of pages to go. Carol comes back up and knocks the villain into the science center and right into a bunch of scientists (you can tell by those swanky lab coats).
There is taunting galore on both sides of the battle as the two super-women keep on slugging each other in the face. It looks to me like Karla is getting the better of this battle but she’s taking some major lumps herself. Still, she downs Carol quite a few times. The two Ms.Marvels hit the theater next just in time to make the premier of Who Dat Ninja II: Reverse Ninja. You just know that’s a good movie that attracts only the most intellectual of theater goer. It’ll never compare to Who Dat Ninja I, though. You can never beat a classic.
It’s around this time that the Ms. Marvel Super Cat Fight attracts some major media attention. This is the kind of publicity Los Angeles hasn’t gotten since they followed a white Bronco around town for a few hours. Except this is a Super Cat Fight. What do you think is going to get higher ratings?
The fight finds it’s way to the highway as Karla drags Carol across and, at times, through the pavement. This part of the battle is just as one sided as the rest has been. At one point, Karla bashes Carol into a car carrier and the highway is littered with brand new, smashed up vehicles. One of those cars winds up flying through the air and heading straight for a minivan filled with some innocent little kids and their innocent little mother. This even gets Karla to pause and regret her last move before the good Ms. Marvel flies in and grabs the car out of the air before collision.
Regret gone, Karla flies in and uses that car as a bat to hit Carol into the ground. By the time the car is all smashed up, Carol Danvers is also pretty beat down and looking good and unconscious. The fights not done yet (still more pages). Sofen brings her boot down on Danvers’ face before kneeling in to choke the remaining life out of this very persistant super hero. Carol wakes up like choking her isn’t even a thing and the fight takes back to the air.
In the skies about LA, there’s one of those commercial flights heading into the LAX Airport. The flight is just being diverted back the way it came possibly because of the super hero cat fight or just maybe LAX is having some troubles all it’s own-- John McClane might be in town for all we know. They don’t get the chance to divert course before the Super Cat Fight is on them. Karla and Carol crash right up into the passenger section, fight their way up the aisle, and exit through the front door all while the jumbo jet’s pilots desperately try to stabilize the flight.
Outside the jet, Karla again gets the upper hand and tosses her playmate into one of the jet engines. The right wing bursts into flames and everything would then probably spiral out of control if not for the timely arrival of the Sentry.
The Sentry isn’t just here to save innocent civilians. He’s here with orders from Osborn. Get the hell back to Avengers Tower or Sentry will just kill you here. Karla and Carol have been causing all kinds of damage all over Los Angeles and Osborn can’t allow that to continue. Karla is forced back to the Tower and that ends our Super Cat Fight for the issue.
We’ve still got a page or two to go, however. What can fill that up?
Remember those media cameras following this fight all around town? Well, you don’t see a Super Powered Cat Fight very often and it’s the kind of thing they’re gonna play over and over again and probably release on DVD and BluRay eventually. In a bar, we find one bewildered woman watching the whole thing on the big screen.
It’s Catherine Donovan. That was Carol’s cover when she went into hiding at the very beginning of Dark Reign. This lady looks very much like Carol. This leads to SEVERAL questions.
The first being: If Carol is an alcoholic and Catherine is in any way Carol, why is Catherine in a bar?
Dark Wolverine #76
Writers: Daniel Way & Marjorie Liu
Penciler: Guiseppe Camuncoli
Last issue, we watched Daken manipulate the heck out of pretty much everyone and everything, Norman Osborn held a Dark Avengers meeting where everyone got violent and Daken ended up with an arrow through his shoulder, the Dark Avengers attended party because it was a brilliant idea to mix criminals in with power players when you’re trying to impress them, and the Fantastic Four showed up because Johnny got an arrow through his leg.
In this issue, we get another Dark Avengers meeting after where the team discusses not fighting the Fantastic Four. Norman accuses Daken of setting this whole thing up (which, of course, is true). Daken has his own meeting with the Fantastic Four and lets Ben smash him to a pulp before their “misunderstanding” is resolved and everyone talks like grownups. Iron Patriot finds Bullseye staking out the Baxter Building like some pervy stalker and sends a text message in to Daken to let Dark Wolverine know that Osborn knows he’s in there with the FF. Finally, Daken smashes out of the building with a threatening looking Ben Grimm close behind as Norman catches all of this on camera.
Following the Fantastic Four showing up and crashing Norman’s party, Osborn apparently let everyone go off on their merry way claiming lack of proof or whatever he really wanted to claim. He’s Norman Osborn, dammit, and he can do whatever he wants. He’s got a get out of jail free card that even Shia Labeouf can’t steal from him with the help of big giant city smashing robots. Not that any of that happens in this comic but it’d be neat to see.
Anyway, it seems all the boring Dark Avengers meetings happen in Dark Wolverine. Ares is pissed of that there was no fight between this team and the Fantastic Four but Norman calms him down and does his whole alpha male thing… which is pretty impressive when one of your team members is the god of war. Not many people would be able to face that down. Osborn then tells everyone that they’ll get to fight it out with the FF when they’ve got something to gain from that fight. For now, everyone needs to get in line and stop being stupid.
As everyone starts leaving, Ms. Marvel begins her flirting with Daken who she seems to have developed some sort of interest in. It’s probably those crazy pheromones Daken keeps shooting at everyone. The dude likes shooting pheromones.
Daken doesn’t actually make it out of the room with everyone else. We’re not the only ones that realize that Hawkeye stabbed Dark Wolvie with a very specific looking arrow that just happened to find it’s way into Johnny Storm’s leg later on in the day. Norman’s not an idiot and, if not for shooting pheromones, he’d probably see through all of this easy. This is “warped prism of Wanda” territory here where you wish everyone would stop acting like morons but realize that pheromones are in play and anyone could start making out at any time.
Daken blames the entire thing on Bullseye because, well, the psychopath is psychopathic. Norman wonders why Bullseye would have it in for the mutant but Daken plays this game well. Lester doesn’t have it in for Daken. He’s got it in for Norman Osborn. Well, there’s no love lost there, actually.
In the Baxter Building, the Fantastic Four are wondering what their next move should be. There’s people in the room (Ben and Johnny) that would have loved to turn their last confrontation into a fight but, fortunately, cooler heads (Reed and Sue) prevailed. They begin talking about how going up against Norman Osborn and his Avengers is lose/lose when they have an uninvited guest. Daken.
Ben meets the intruder head on while Dark Wolverine almost effortlessly dodges his attacks. This is all a game for Daken, though. Eventually, he allows Ben to get a hold of him and, with some help from his little pheromone thing, gets Ben to smash his head into the floor.
The rest of the FF intervene and prevent Ben from killing the jerk. Daken rises from the ground, apologizing. He tells the FF that he has lots of unexpected effects on people. That’s true enough. Sue tells Dark Wolverine that Logan told them who was wearing the Wolverine mask in the Dark Avengers and that he wasn’t to be trusted.
Daken throws that off because Logan is, himself, kind of crazy and people hold grudges for all sorts of reasons. Reed and Sue have questions they’d love to get answered (like how this guy broke through their security, for instance) but first and foremost on the list is simply finding out why Daken came to them.
Outside the Baxter Building, it appears we have a stalker: Bullseye. Daken has been doing the pheromone thing to him for quite a while and the guy has lots of anger issues building up because of it. The criminal has been tracking the mutant ever since. Following Bullseye is Iron Patriot (that’s Norman if you haven’t been paying attention). Osborn is wondering why the hell Lester is outside the Baxter Building when it was HIS arrow that went through Johnny’s leg. Bullseye tells Norman what he’s been doing and that Daken isn’t out to take him down. Daken wants to take down Osborn.
Back inside, Daken is explaining exactly why he’s here. He knows that he’s attached himself to a sinking ship and he wants out and not just because Norman is going down but because it is something he seems to genuinely want out of. The FF are incredulous. Daken is, after all, pretty old. You’re supposed to know what you’re about at his age. Daken tells them it’s not about knowing who he is; it’s about making mistakes and trying to rectify them. Daken tells them he wants out but knows that there’s no leaving. Osborn wouldn’t allow that.
Besides, Osborn will eventually come for the FF and they’ll have an inside man. All that needs to happen is for Reed to shake Daken’s hand. Probably get some pheromones shot at him as well.
Outside, Norman doesn’t know who to actually trust: the psycho he knows or the wild card that is Daken. He ends up pointing an arm gun at Lester before Bullseye reveals that he has proof that Daken is inside. It’s all on the camera.
Inside, Reed is actually shaking Dark Wolverine’s hand. It’s gross. OK, not really. Anyway, Reed’s under no illusions that this is an awesome deal. It’s basically damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Daken’s cell rings with a text message from Osborn. It says “Tell Reed I said hi LOL”
OK, I made up the “LOL” part.
Daken tells his new allies that Osborn called a meeting. Now, there’s a problem. He can’t just leave the building. Osborn doesn’t just let people leave the Tower unattended and he’ll have been followed. If he walks out, Ozzy will know some sort of deal went down. No, he needs to be tossed out somehow. If only there was a hulking monster of living rock that could over-react and throw him out with his face smashed up…
Outside, Norman receives a text message of his own but it’s for Lester. Yes, Daken knew he was being followed because you can’t have a Mary Sue character unless they are absolutely in control of everything. Bullseye is supposed to have his camera ready because the next bit is gonna be sweet.
Dark Wolverine is thrown from the building by a supposedly angry Ben Grimm who’s also shouting out some threats. Daken looks like he’s lost half his face. The best part? It’s all on film. This has made Osborn’s day.
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #5
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Penciler: Sean Chen
Last issue, Norman Osborn and HAMMER came for a visit and inspection of the Baxter Building to find that only Franklin and Valeria were there to greet him. Reed Richards was still playing with alternate realities on his Bridge while, unbeknownst to him, the rest of the FF found themselves in crazier and crazier realities with various versions of themselves. Those crazy kids bugged the hell out of Osborn while separating him from his team and Venom. Reed found the solution to his problems and they sound pretty Doom-like if you ask me. Osborn hunted Frank and Val throughout the Baxter Building before being confronted by the rest of the family. It’s Ozzy versus the Fantastic Four for all the marbles!
In this issue, the Fantastic Four face off against Norman Osborn. HAMMER and Venom come to the rescue. Franklin shoots Norman with a fake gun but real results. The Fantastic Four and kids get introduced to the newly rebuilt FF HQ. Reed recalls the last thing he did before shutting down the Bridge: seeing if anyone else had ever made a Bridge before. He finds a whole flock that had. Sue demands that Reed destroy the Bridge and Reed promises to dismantle it. What he didn’t tell her is that he reassembled it in a new location.
Norman has finally hunted down the Richards children only to find that the Fantastic Four are back to stop him from killing the kids. At this point, it’s a pretty one sided battle. There’s no way that Norman is going to beat the Four all on his lonesome especially without his Iron Patriot armor… or even his Green Goblin gimmicks. He calls in for reinforcements but Sue is easily able to keep HAMMER and Venom from getting any further into the Baxter Building with a quick invisible force field.
Norman again finds himself facing off against the FF and does what is expected of him at this point. He calls off his HAMMER Agents and Venom. This doesn’t end things but he knows that only with those agents gone will he be set free. Norman swears a lot of vengeance and all before Reed turns his back on the former Green Goblin. Ozzy pulls his gun and is about to shoot Richards in the head before Franklin comes in for a last minute save.
Everyone’s always shutting off Franklin’s powers instead of just teaching him to use them properly. This is a great chance for Hickman to write in some power control for Franklin. We’ll see if it happens. For now, he gets chewed out by his mom for shooting super villains with a fake gun. It’s just not done round these parts.
Norman swears more villainy vengeance to which Reed simply replies “No you can’t.” Richards isn’t afraid of Osborn and is in one of those states he gets in where he believes he can do no wrong. This usually leads to allowing his untrained fiance and her kid brother to board experimental rockets.
For now, we’ve got a mini-series to wrap up. Reed checks on the kids and sees that they are all right. He’s obviously concerned about the whole Franklin shooting fake guns at people thing, so maybe that’ll be followed up on in the main series. Everyone asks if Reed found what he was looking for with the Bridge and Reed replies in the affirmative. Johnny takes the kids off to see their new rooms (the Baxter Building was incredibly damaged during Secret Invasion and this is the follow up story where everyone is moving back in, remember?).
Sue asks for some details about the Bridge but she’s not going to get them. We are. Reed was about to shut everything down when he went back in to see how many other Bridges had been built (141). Once he asked that question, he is able to see some of the others who build Bridges. They look like a wide variety of people but, as we’ve learned in the FF series, each one is a Reed Richards from an alternate timeline. Yes, even the robot looking one. And the fat one. And the conehead. Something tells me no one informed Sean Chen that they were all Reeds. This council of Reeds is going to ask Reed to join them and this is one of those big plots that will be explored in the main series.
Sue has a request to make: destroy the Bridge. This isn’t something Reed wants to do. At all. He’s not giving Sue any good reason for why it shouldn’t happen, however. Eventually, he agrees to dismantle the entire set up.
Reed does that whole thing because he’s a faithful husband who keeps his promises. He immediately puts the whole thing back together because he’s kind of a jerk. I mean, this is above Tony Stark level of jerkdom right here. Sometimes you keep things from your wife just because you happen to be a grade A a-hole with delusions of being Dr. Doom.
We end with Reed Richards entering that crazy room where he came up with all his plans after the Stamford incident that set off the Super Human Civil War. We get a good look at Idea #101. Solve everything. It’s what Reed does even if it makes him a super villain in the process.
Which, y’know, won’t actually happen but this is definitely some dark territory for Reed to head down and the consequences will be interesting.
See ya over in the regular series!
Black Panther #6
Writer: Reginald Hudlin
Penciler: Ken Lashley
Last issue, we had T’challa and his wife fighting their way out of some after life mumbo and jumbo only to find it ain’t easy escaping the embodiment of death. Shuri returned from the panther god without being christened the new Black Panther even though everyone who’s seen the covers to Black Panther knows that some girl will be in that damn costume eventually. Morlun kept sucking but this time he does it harder than ever before. Zawavari finally delivered his “Wakanda isn’t embracing it’s hocus pocus ancestry and is relying too much on technology and you all need to recognize” speech that he’d been practicing all week. Shuri dresses up as Black Panther while Morlun walks to her very door.
In this issue, the new all-female Black Panther faces off against the old all-suck Morlun over the body of T’challa. Ororo and T’challa discuss matters of life, death, and love (possibly taxes). Morlun chases Shuri around Wakanda City. Death renews it’s attack on T’challa and Ororo. Zawavari starts drinking stuff in order to send Morlun to the death plane (or reasonable facsimile thereof). Death decides this is a pretty good alternative to a Wakandan king and lets T’challa go. Everything is good and Shurri is the new Black Panther… for a few issues at least. I miss T’challa already.
Morlun is just one big pile of a crappy bad guy but you use what you’ve got. Remember The Other? Morlun. It’s all his fault. It’s why Peter died and shed his own skin to come back to life. Ugh. The Other. That bad taste will stay with you.
Anyway, Morlun is the resident big bad for this storyline and, since he eats totems, he’s here to take all the power from Black Panther. That would normally be T’challa but it looks like his sister, Shuri, is playing dress up for the role. It’s about damn time. She’s been wearing the costume on the covers since issue one. It’s about time we actually saw her in it. Morlun originally laughs at the threat of Shuri in the BP costume but, after she throws a spear at her (which he easily blocks because that’s just how he rolls), Morlun begins to sense her essence changing. It’s like she’s suddenly… worthy of the Black Panther role. It’s crazy.
In the after life, Storm is telling T’challa that she’s cool with her decision to take his place in death. I mean, this is true love. You think it happens everyday? Ororo went into this knowing what she was giving up. She’s good. Get on with living, T’challa!
In the real world, another woman is fighting for T’challa’s life. Shuri. Remember her? Morlun is actually much less interested in T’challa at this point. He’s hunting Shuri and that should tell you something. Looks like someone’s the Black Panther for real now. Shuri knows that she can’t actually beat Morlun because that’s turned out to be impossible. All she can do is lead him away and to the trap that will eventually get rid of this lame villain forever or until another former Spider-writer resurrects him. She starts to run and Morlun quickly gives chase.
Shuri contacts her mother and Zawavari, the old mystic that inspired her to put on the Black Panther suit and sent Ororo off to rescue her husband. She’s leading Morlun to them and wants them to be ready. Her mom lets Shuri know how proud she is of the new Black Panther in the family. After the call’s over, mom makes sure Zawavari understands how important it is to be absolutely ready for Morlun’s arrival.
Back at the battle zone, Shuri has taken off in a sky-bike and captured Morlun in a net.
In the afterlife, T’challa won’t leave without Ororo. Storm tells him that Wakanda is in need of him but the king doesn’t care. Love has blinded him. This is also a very raw deal and no one should just accept it. He hasn’t made up his mind but he’s touched by the love that Ororo has for him and the two kiss in a very touching scene that isn’t immediately spoiled by armies of the undead attacking them. Wait for it.
In the real world (actually, the comic book version of such a thing) Morlun hasn’t stayed all wrapped up like he’s supposed to. The super villain rips out of his netting which means Shuri needs to improvise. Morlun climbs up the ropes to the sky-bike before Shuri abandons it. The bike plummets with explosive results but Shuri doesn’t land that well herself.
In the afterlife, Death is back and he’s brought an army of undead skeletal warriors with him. Told ya. T’challa’s not going quietly and he won’t let Ororo do so either. It’s gonna be a fight. Death lays down the ground rules: I’m gonna win eventually. T’challa doesn’t care. It’s on.
In the world of the living, the new Black Panther staggers to her feet. She’s not the only one to do so. Morlun rises himself and the fight resumes. The fight crashes right into Zawavari’s hut which is just where Shuri was trying to get to. Morlun thinks this is great because he gets to kill the entire family now.
For a moment, Zawavari is stunned too much to act. T’challa and Shuri’s mother isn’t. She demands the mystic get his stuff together. That means Zawavari gets to get drunk or something. He takes a swig or twenty from his mystic bottle of spirits and casts his spell. Morlun laughs this off for only a moment before it starts taking effect and the super villain is teleported… away. Everyone hopes it worked.
In the afterlife, Death’s armies are fighting it out against T’challa and Ororo. The two heroes haven’t begun to tire yet and are full of bravado. That would probably lessen in time except for the timely arrival of… Morlun. It turns out that this is exactly where Zawavari sent the monster. Morlun shows up and Death senses all the souls that Morlun has eaten over time. He gets that Zawavari sent the guy in exchange for T’challa and Ororo and… well, it doesn’t matter. Morlun is a whole lot more of a meal than the two heroes. He sends them away while he prepares to collect a very defiant Morlun.
If we’re lucky, no one will revive that idiot ever again.
Ororo wakes up in Zawavari’s flaming hut with her husband’s name on her lips. She’s not the only one curious about the fate of the Wakandan King. Ramonda calls up the palace to get a word to the royal physician and learns that T’challa is awake as well. Miracles all around.
A bit later, everyone gathers around the bed of the still recovering king and they all wonder about why Shuri is still around after the panther god rejected her for the role of Black Panther. Shuri doesn’t know but she hasn’t taken off the Black Panther suit, either. Zawavari, again, has to fill in the blanks. The panther god was waiting for Shuri to prove herself which is just what she did when she lifted that spear to protect the king of Wakanda. She did it knowing that she might die in the struggle and not for her own glory but for the safety of her people. That’s what the panther god wanted to hear and it’s also when Morlun began to chase her around. He recognized the true heir of the Black Panther legacy. It’s time we all did as well even though Shuri’s mother isn’t overjoyed to see her daughter in the thick of things.
Now, this isn’t how Shuri expected it to be She expected glory and awesome and all she got was rubble and pain. Storm tells her that leadership isn’t defined by the happy times but is mapped out when a leader is tested by hard ones.
Shuri looks defiant and accepts the challenge of being Black Panther in difficult times.
All-New Savage She-Hulk #4
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Pencilers: Peter Vale, Gabriel Guzman, & Michael Ryan
Last issue, the Dark Avengers captured Lyra, the time traveling She-Hulk from the future and brought her back to Avengers Tower for torture and stuff. We get more flashbacks where we learn that the Gynosure, that cyborg leader of the women of the future, wasn't all on Lyra's side and tried to have her assassinated after a particular mission to repair the women's cradle device (this is the device used to clone future women). While defending herself, the bit they needed to repair their cradle was destroyed and now there's no future for either man or woman in a world made up of clones and stereotypes. Lyra returns home for some old fashioned revenge only to be persuaded to head into the past to make babies with the Norman Osborn. Back in the past, Lyra escapes with the help of her annoying talking wristwatch and starts sucking face with Norman.
In this issue, Lyra stops making out with Ozzy and explains to him why he was needed to make the babies of the future. Her and her talking wristwatch are reunited and they both fight their way out of Avengers Tower. She's eventually downed by some of the more competent Avengers before getting some back up from the real She-Hulk and they're both teleported out by ARMOR. Lyra decides to take a job with ARMOR and her talking wristwatch saves her future by having that spare part they needed to fix the women's cradle hidden away until it can be retrieved by the Gynosure in the future.
There's not that much straight sex that happens in the future. Men and women live in separate and stereotypical communities and are cloned sterile. There's no real reason to get down and, if you do, you're probably getting down with a member of the same sex. This might explain why, instead of ripping off Norman Osborn's clothes, Lyra's sucking face with him... which isn't necessary for the procreation ritual. Maybe she wants to create the right mood while over-powering her partner with super rape. Lucky for Norman (and us) Lyra's not really down with raping Norman Osborn (which would be the most disturbing comic I've ever read). She throws the former Green Goblin away. Odds are, she would have found Oz-man a willing partner. That dude sleeps with everyone.
Lyra's feeling talkative after that messed up moment and starts explaining why she was going to bed the Iron Patriot. Norman is deemed the greatest hero of the era and, even though the future women hate all mention of heroes, this meant that he was the perfect candidate to propogate the species with in the future. Lyra's not as easily convinced, however. She tells Osborn that he eventually uses his HAMMER influence to create a corporation that sells people super powers. The entire world gets super powerful and, since no one really knows how to handle eye beams and super strength, the world bites the dust in only a century. This whole thought intrigues Norman and you can see the wheels turning in his head.
This whole conversation gets Lyra all angry and, with her, the angrier she gets, the weaker she gets. Luckily, Boudicca, Lyra's annoying talking wristwatch, has infected the HAMMER database and has some good news to impart. Appearing in the form of a unicorn on the monitoring screen, Boudicca tells her where her wristwatch form is located and Lyra takes off to pick up her lame sidekick.
So, woman and wristwatch are reunited. Lyra asks Boudicca if the artificial intelligence dares to join her. After all, she just gave up her mission to the past and doomed the women of the future. Boudicca's connected to the Gynosure by some sort of tachyon stream and so following the green girl would be seen as instant treason. Boudicca doesn't even blink... not that she actually COULD blink. Lyra's definitely worth following. Just check how awesome she is.
So, our heroes are reunited. What next? It's time to bust out of Avengers Tower. That means going through a heck of a lot of Dark Avengers in the process. That's ok. When Lyra gets super calm and focused, she's nigh unbeatable. This is one of those times. In her zen state, she makes Ares look like an amateur, stabs Daken against the wall, and throws Hawkeye across the room. When Venom attacks, we learn that that Black Bloom that protects the future feminist civilization is actually symbiotes. Lyra's body produces a pheromone that repels the symbiote (Daken will probably use this in the future). In just moments, four Avengers are downed.
Which just pisses off Ozzy. Luckily, he's got Ms. Marvel on his side and she's actually been thinking instead of fighting. Karla uses her powers to overload Lyra on gamma energy. Lyra's advantage is lost. Ares is back up on his feet and knocks her to the ground.
Sentry and Captain Marvel are confronting the original She-Hulk just outside Avengers Tower. There's not too much purpose behind this fight besides wanting a little payback. Sentry threw her into Jersey. She's pissed. No one likes New Jersey. She's given an actual reason by ARMOR Director Charles Little Sky. She-Hulk was originally contracted by ARMOR to stop Lyra until the Avenger came in. Now, she's being asked to extract Lyra from Avengers possession. It's something Jen was ready to do anyway.
With a little help from the Sentry, Jennifer is able to join Lyra in fighting against the Dark Avengers. Once the two are together, She-Hulk contacts ARMOR and waits for extraction. The two fight side by side for a panel or two until ARMOR is able to teleport the She-Hulks out of harms way and into ARMOR HQ.
ARMOR's not just ready to trust Lyra. She DID trash up a good portion of New York on her mission to locate Norman Osborn and have sex with him. Little Sky's orders are pretty clear. He's to send Lyra back to her proper timeline. This isn't what Lyra wants to do at all. She hasn't completed her mission and has no intentions of trying again. Her people will kill her if she returns. Boudicca tells her otherwise.
While captured, Boudicca used the time to locate the replacement bit needed to get the future Cradle up and running. She had one piece hidden away and, through that tachyon stream, sent word to Gynosure in the future to it's location. It looks like the future is saved... sorta. It's still a pretty crappy future. Still, it means mission accomplished. Gynosure recieves her people's salvation and says some pretty words to the absent Lyra. She's free.
Which is nice.
Still, there are repurcussions to be had. Norman Osborn appears on the monitor and he's just a lot pissed that ARMOR just did what it did. Sending in an agent to extract a prisoner from another agency? This will not stand. Little Sky isn't giving an inch but we know who's power is greater in the Dark Reign. What he has, however, is an ace in the hole. Boudicca has stolen all of Osborn's secrets. Ozzy can't touch ARMOR if those secrets are used over his head. So what does Lyra want for all this?
A new home and a new job.
We catch up with Lyra later as some cyber punks from another future teleport into the Marvel dimension. This is where ARMOR usually steps in. They do. Looks like Lyra's working for 'em now.
Want more Lyra? You can get it in back up stories over in Incredible Hulk. Check it out if you're interested!
The Silver Surfer #4
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciler: John Buscema
In this issue, Loki seeks out a champion to take on his brother, Thor, and finds that the Silver Surfer could probably do some damage. Loki rushes off to test his future champion and also gives fair warning to the Warriors Three about how he's going to destroy Thor. While the Warriors Three go to tattle on the trickster god, Loki fights it out with Surfer before somehow convincing him to take up the asgardian's cause. The Surfer heads to Asgard to challenge Thor but ends up eating with him instead. Loki uses some treachery to start up the battle and it's Thor versus Norrin Rad for a few pages until the Surfer realizes that he's being tricked into a fight. When Loki sees that the two aren't going to battle it out anymore and that he might be found to blame, he sends Norrin back to earth where the Silver Surfer bawls the night away.
Loki has often found himself thwarted by Thor. Time and time again, his plans come to a rude end when they are found out by his brother. Loki just needs to find a champion that can be tricked into doing his dirty work for him. To that end, the trickster god sends his astral form to earth so that he can search out someone capable of beating Thor.
There are a few powerful warriors in the Marvel U at the time. There's the Hulk but Loki reject him because there's a distinct lack of skill to the green behemoth's attacks. We've got the Thing whose is placed out of the running for being human. Hercules would be a fun battle but Loki doesn't wish to involve the son of Zeus for fear of Zeus's wrath. It seems like a futile seach until Loki encounters Norrin Rad. The Silver Surfer is pretty powerful. A brief look into his history reveals someone that could be tricked into fighting Thor to the death.
Loki returns to his god form and rides out to meet his new champion. On the way, he bumps into the Warriors Three (Fandral, Volstagg, and Hogunn). He lets them know that he's got new plans to get rid of the god of thunder and then races off to enact them. The Warriors waste no time in warning Thor (who says thee nay). Thor prepares his armies for whatever threat Loki might spring on him. This is all part of Loki's plan. Turns out Loki hung out after rushing off just to see this part. He wants Thor to look like a warlord so that it will be that much easier to trick the Silver Surfer into fighting him.
On earth, the Silver Surfer lives in total peace with nature and nature lives in peace with him. He believes no animal will attack another unless they need something to eat. I'm betting these animals are in actuality heavily sedated. But that's a side note. What gets interesting is when Loki shows up and challenges Norrin Rad to a fight.
Surfer isn't really a fighter. He's a lover. His love happens to be on a planet that he can't visit but that doesn't make it less true. Goading Norrin into duking it out with Loki isn't an easy task. Loki ends up carrying the battle into a city and, only when the populace is put in danger, does the Surfer fight his heart out. His strength proven, Loki lets the Silver Surfer in on a little secret: this battle was a test to prove his mettle. Now, only the Surfer can save the people of Asgard from the warlord, Thor.
The Silver Surfer is easily fooled. With the additional bonus given that Loki can free him his earthly prison, Norrin is ready to fight anyone. Loki leads the Surfer to the gates of Asgard before leaving him. The Silver Surfer can't enter Asgard with Loki because that would ruin the whole plan. When Heimdall notices the silver naked man surfing in, he confronts Norrin and then allows him to pass on to meet Thor.
Loki and one of his minions are pleased with this state of affairs. So far, the plan is working perfectly. The plan isn't up yet, though. Loki has to make sure that the power of the Surfer is used correctly. The Power Cosmic is an incredible strength that the Surfer hasn't fully realized yet.
In Thor's meeting hall, there are meals being served. It's just like the Surfer to show up for some free grub.
Surfer isn't one to let his feelings be kept from everyone. He immediately gets down to business and accuses the god of thunder of all manner of evil. Since Thor has lots of loyal peeps, this nearly causes a fight in his hall. Thor calms everyone down and, instead of a fight, Silver Surfer sits down and dines with the gods of Asgard. While they eat, they get a show. It's gladiatorial combat time! That'll prove that you aren't a warlord, Thor!
When there is finally a champion on the floor, Thor awards him a pretty awesome sword. Loki affects the warrior's mind and causes him to throw the sword at Norrin "for Thor." Silver Surfer's mind has already been filled with troubling thoughts by Loki so this little bit of treachery is the straw that breaks camel backs. Surfer and Thor are finally able to do what we've all been waiting for: fight it out.
Surfer first needs to clear the room for it be full of Asgardians a plenty. The scatter pretty easily to Norrin's powers. Thor tries to plead with the Surfer to end this madness but Loki's enchanting the air so that his words never reach their target.
That's it for now. Tune in soon for an incredibly large week 'o comics!
Until then: Who Do YOU Trust?