Today, we check out X-Men Legacy #227, Dark Reign: The Hood #4, Dark Reign: Mr. Negative #3 and Blast to the Past with The New Warriors #10. Enjoy and spread the word!
This woulda been an easy week except I did the colors on that nice pretty banner you can see on the forums. Check it out if you haven't already. It's pretty.
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 65 previous articles. It's perfect for all your reading needs.
Utopia is in full effect and it's time to check in.
X-Men Legacy #227
Writer: Mike Carey
Penciler: Duston Weaver
In DA/UXM: Utopia, Simon Trask came 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 was just a riot waiting to happen and it only took a few pages for that to start up. Cyclops and Emma Frost met with the mayor and started working on quelling the riots as the whole thing attracted the attention of America's Top Cop, Norman Osborn. X-Man fought X-Man in the street of San Francisco. The Dark Avengers and HAMMER intervened and things still didn't calm down. Emma Frost went to Norman Osborn and found out about "The Plan." It was the beginning of the Dark X-Men as Iron Patriot addressed the public with Professor Charles Xavier... while another Professor X talked to the previously captured Beast in prison.
In Uncanny X-Men #513, Cyclops ran away from the authorities, the Dark Avengers helped to clean the streets of San Francisco, Beast chatted it up with the real Xavier before being trotted out to the Omega Machine which was being run by Dark Beast from the Age of Apocalypse, Norman Osborn introduced Emma to the Dark X-Men, we all learned that Dark Xavier is Mystique, Namor joined Emma's Dark X-Men team, Simon Trask began infecting people with a techno-organic virus, Cyclops ordered his X-Men to watch a lot of TV, Hellion led a lot of people who should know better (and some who didn't) into a riot/demonstration at Union Square, and the Dark X-Men got to do some arresting.
In X-Men Legacy #227, Rogue, Gambit, and Danger got drawn into the conflict. Cyclops deployed them to hotspots throughout the city where they worked to save lives and stop violence. Gambit rescued a mutant known as Trance who was taken away by Onyxx and Ariel. Rogue faced off against the Dark Ms. Marvel. Gambit, Rogue, and Danger fought it out with Ares before taking a HAMMER vehicle and cruising the city in style.
In this issue, Ariel and Onyxx return to X-Men Headquarters WITHOUT their injured companion, Trance. Trance ends up back on the streets of San Francisco accidentally attacking HAMMER Agents. Rogue, Gambit, and Danger are still driving around the city in their stolen HAMMER vehicle and have to slow down and clear a path when the road is blocked by burning wreckage. Eventually, they catch up to Trance. Dark Ms. Marvel hears about his little get together and flies off for a rematch with Rogue. Rogue talks Trance down off the ledge of out of control mutant powers while Ms. Marvel makes short work of Danger and Gambit. Rogue uses the last of her Ares power against Ms. Marvel before being saved by Trance. The mutants (and Danger) get a quick ride out of the area courtesy of Pixie. We end with Scott complimenting Rogue on a job well done while giving her a hint at his plans for the future.
OK, that's out of the way, let's get into the meat of this thing.
Last issue, Gambit rescued a young mutant named Hope Abbott (Trance to her friends) after she had been tazered by a HAMMER Agent. Unfortunately, Trance wasn't out of the woods just yet. Trance was splitting into her astral form just when she got hit with the tazer and, now, she's stuck in between both states. It looks painful. The X-Men are her best bet for help and Gambit turns the youngster over to Onyxx and the transporter, Ariel, warning them of her condition.
Ariel and Onyxx teleport back to X-Men Headquarters in Marin County but their injured passenger isn't with them any longer. Something about Trance's current state interfered with the teleport and dropped the mutant back into the thick of things in San Francisco.
I mean drop very literally. Trance falls out of a teleporter door and falls about thirty feet to the ground, hitting a bus stand on the way down. Maybe more. It's open to debate but what isn't is that landing is painful. If Trance wasn't already in some major pain, she might even feel it more. Her landing doesn't go unnoticed. There's a HAMMER patrol just down the street that sends a few men over to apprehend another curfew breaker.
Hope, who was originally asking for someone to help her, now looks more concerned for these HAMMER Agents. She looks right at then and tells them to run. Then she does this:
The men collapse under the unintentional assault. Only one of them is still conscious enough to call for back-up.
Rogue, Gambit, and Danger have already been dispatched by X-Men HQ to pick up Trance. One of the Cuckoos, Mindee, is psychically tracking her but, with her astral form acting all wonky, she's hard to get a reading off. Gambit berates himself for leaving her in the care of others before Danger orders a full stop to their HAMMER confiscated vehicle.
The path ahead has been blocked with burning wreckage. Buildings, cars, and random debri. Looks like they're going to have to find an alternate route forward.
Or not. Rogue still has the powers she stole from Ares and Danger has a big Mega Man gun. The two begin clearing a path forward while Gambit drives the HAMMER truck.
Trance is on the move and stumbling. She comes in contact with a few more curfew breakers (not mutants) and, when they offer to call an ambulance, she begs them to call the X-Men and get her some help. She promptly explodes with bio-energy again and the others scatter.
Meanwhile, our heroes have cleared the wreckage and are just a little ways off from Trance. Interestingly enough, the riot is still in full effect and there are some protesters attacking the HAMMER vehicle they're driving down the road. Whether or not these people are pro-Mutant or anti is up for debate. Maybe they just hate HAMMER. Or like to riot. It could be any number of things.
They witness Trance's psychic backlash/sneeze thing and really don't know what to make of it. The thing looks powerful. Rogue decides that she's going in to steal Trance's powers and end this thing, banking on her Ares strength to keep her safe as she enters blast range.
Dark Ms. Marvel is in another part of the city dealing with more rioters. People love a good riot. It's a good way to get new electronics. When they see her, they try their best to attack the Avenger but it's just more reason for her to beat them all up. While she's going to work, she's learning what HAMMER knows about the Trance situation and, betting that she'll have a chance to rematch Rogue if she shows up, cancel's HAMMER's back-up team in favor of handling Trance personally.
Trance is still out of control. Rogue realizes that taking away her power when she's separated between her physical body and her astral self might kill the youngster and decides that her best course of action is to try talking the mutant down. Back at X-Men HQ, Mindee tells Cyclops all that's going down which is only really important because it shows that Cyclops is concerned about his fellow mutants and is actively engaged in these operations at the command center.
Rogue theorizes that the tazer didn't actually DO this so much as it caused Hope to lose her center and panic. Having been dropped back into San Francisco and bouncing off a bus stand probably didn't help matters. Her powers are freaking because she's freaking. She needs to regain control. From outside the blast radius, Danger and Gambit doubt this tactic is going to succeed.
They also see that things just got more difficult. Ms. Marvel has just flown onto the scene and she's gunning to take down some muties. She blasts Danger out of the fight first and then makes short work of Remy. Karla taunts Rogue from a distance and Rogue gets up to meet the Avenger, telling Hope that she won't be far away.
Ms. Marvel tries to end the fight quickly with a close proximity blast to the face, not realizing that Rogue has powers stolen from Ares. She's so surprised to see Rogue still standing with nothing more than a nosebleed that she fails to go intangible when Rogue hits her with a haymaker. Ms. Marvel slams right into the stolen HAMMER truck, flipping it over as she skids across the pavement.
That's the sort of thing that'll only work once. Karla's onto Rogue's little game now and uses her intangibility to her advantage as she waits out Rogue losing her Ares power. It doesn't take long. The fight switches back to Ms. Marvel's favor.
While this is going on, Trance is regaining her center and bringing her powers back under control. It looks like Rogue guessed right on this one. Trance just needed to calm down.
Ms. Marvel has Rogue in a headlock but Trance gives the Avenger a shove which, again, surprises Karla into letting go of her quarry. Sofen tries using her intangibility again but learns that Trance's astral form is able to hit her when Ms. Marvel ghosts. Ms. Marvel returns to solid form to escape Trance's attack and leaves herself wide open to Gambit's card trick: a King of Spades and an Ace of Hearts kinetically charged and aimed true.
While Karla is stunned, the X-Men send another teleporter to pick up their wayward X-Men and, this time, Trance doesn't end up lost in San Francisco mid-port. Ms. Marvel gets to her feet and reports to HAMMER that this was nothing but an injured mutant that was rescued before she got around to capturing it.
So, that was a day, wasn't it? Cyclops is in the infirmary congratulating Rogue on a job well done. Rogue still hasn't forgiven herself for what she believes is her failure to run her own X-Men squad and puts her own insecurities on Cyclops. She thinks he's looking down on her for her own feelings of incompetence but, in this case, she's incorrect. Cyclops is actually praising her for what she was able to do in the field. She comments on the future of mutantkind looking pretty grim but Scott is pretty positive. If this isn't their home, they'll find (or MAKE) another. The world has taken their shot at the X-Men. Now it's the X-Men's turn.
Keep and eye out for the last two chapters of Utopia to see what that's all about.
Dark Reign: The Hood #4
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Kyle Hotz
Last issue, Force busted members of the Syndicate as they were leaving a bar drunk out of their minds. Satana had a spiritual meeting with Parker and hired herself onto his staff. We also got a glimpse at Dormammu's past. White Fang met the Controller. Parker had a family moment before getting a call from jail where some of his Syndicate members were sitting after last night's escapades. He eventually got around to busting them out but still got into a fight with the Griffin. This would be great except Parker wasn't wearing his real cloak and had no powers. Later on, Parker visited his mom to find that she was no longer insane... a gift from Dormammu. Finally, the Controller decided to fund White Fang's attempts to kill the Hood.
In this issue, the Hood's super gang discusses their trust issue before engaging in a super heist for super technology. Parker has another family moment as White Fang watches him from across the street. Creepy. Parker shows his family their new house in Forest Hills before seeing Dormammu in the mirror and deciding he needs to figure this demon thing out and soon. He gets to his super hideout to find that Satanna has already moved in with the help of some mind-controlled flunkies. He discusses his current situation with Satanna, while we cut away to Brooklyn where White Fang is meeting with Parker's family. Hood tells his crew that their next target is Force, who needs some cutting down after the super hero jailed a few of his crew the other day. They put together a plan and we cut to later on when Force and the NYPD are doing their best to apprehend the Shocker. The Hood and his Syndicate show up and even the odds until White Fang appears and shows Parker a hologram of his girl and his daughter. It just got real.
It's been a busy week for the Hood's Syndicate. They've had headquarters burned to the ground and also had a few members busted by the police (and Force) before they got broken out courtesy of HAMMER. All this has got some of the members wondering if the Hood has the chops to lead them. This is all talk around the literal campfire as a certain group of Syndicate thugs wait to do a little piracy. Thoughts on the subject are varied and even Parker's cousin, John King, is joining in. Just a bit. King's feeling a bit pushed to the side as Parker is keeping his own set of secrets away from his cousin.
After that little chit chat, it's on to robbing a boat to steal some tech from it's holds.
Where's Parker during all this? He's hanging out with his family. We've got little Bree, his daughter, and Sara, his baby momma. Parker has been getting too far into this thug thing and, even more dangerous, has been possessed by a demon named Dormammu. OK, Dormy's isn't technically a "demon" but he's close enough where I shouldn't worry too much about qualifying that statement. Since Parker has been seeing Dormammu as his reflection even after he stopped wearing the cloak that started this whole business, he's been working to make mirrors very scarce in his presence. To that end, he's gotten rid of the full length mirror in the apartment and plays it off as being damaged. It wouldn't surprise me if it really were. They don't live in the best apartment ever.
Parker and Sara are talking about their upcoming visit to see Parker's mom who has recently stopped being crazy (Dormammu's doing). Parker tells her that he's arranged to have his mom out of the sanitarium so they can take her for a ride. Parker has the itinerary planned out more in-depth but he's not telling his girl about it. Sara's cool with that. She can't wait to find out tomorrow.
Watching all this is the Hood's mortal enemy: White Fang. She's got a hell of a grudge against Parker because the Hood killed her husband. It's a legitimate thing.
The next day, Parker drives the family (including his mommy) to their new home in Forest Hills. It turns out that Parker bought a house for everyone without telling them. It was with the crazy money he's been making as the Hood and it's a pretty awesome deal. Now, if I did this kind of thing without consulting my wife, I'd be in big trouble regardless of whether my wife liked the house or not. That's probably the tiniest lie Parker's keeping from Sara, though, so who am I to judge. The house is pretty awesome and, since it's fully paid for, all they need to worry about is increasing property taxes and maybe some new furniture.
And probably getting rid of those pesky mirrors. They just show the Dormammu in our star. Parker gets a good long look and decides that he might want to get to work.
Approaching his current hideout in Safehouse Three, he finds his... well, one of his complications. While he's got the whole family thing going with his daughter and his girl, he's also having sex with Madame Masque because, well, he's not really a one woman guy. He's just a douche who can't control his wang.
The two make their way into Safehouse Three to find that Satanna has already moved in and magicked up lair in the basement. This leads Masque to believe that Hood has a weakness: girls. Whitney is a little jealous because Satanna is hot and doesn't have a ruined face. The daughter of Satan had a bunch of Hood's crew help her set up things down here but, with that done, she lifts the enchantment she placed on them and lets them drift back upstairs and wait for Parker to lead their nightly meeting.
Before Hood joins them, he has a conference with Satanna. She sees he isn't wearing the usual magic cloak and is instead wearing a loaner from the Crimson Cowl. Parker tells her that he's seeing Dormammu even without the cloak on. Satanna conjures a quick wall of flame (best to hide secrets in) before allowing the Hood to continue. Parker tells him how his powers have changed since he first took them on. He can fly without the boots that used to give him that ability and he can turn invisible without holding his breath (something he had to do when he originally got the cloak but which doesn't translate well to the comic page). Satanna's not sure what he should do but she promises to keep looking into things while Parker does his business upstairs.
Back in Brooklyn, Sara and Bree are returning to the apartment. Sara has some trouble bringing the baby stroller up the steps and is helped out by White Fang. We almost get a single white female moment before we switch scenes.
Back at Safehouse Three, the thugs are sitting down to their meal and shooting the breeze. I should clarify: the criminals aren't actually SHOOTING the breeze. They're TALKING. It's an expression that probably should be used when talking about criminals who do actual shooting. The only really important bit to bring up from this meal is that Controller learns that the Hood is wearing one of Crimson Cowl's cloaks. That will be relevant later. Hood's also still able to sneak up on people even without his special abilities.
You might remember that this issue started with a boat robbery. How will that play out? Well, it turns out that the tech on the boat was for the Controller. They had some crystal coils which must be needed to make slave discs. Looks like the Controller is in business but will he be loyal?
The answer is: no. He's already been disloyal and there's no going back even if he wanted to. He doesn't.
Controller is excited and runs off to check the coils with the help of the Wingless Wizard. The Wrecking Crew is amazed that, after everything the Controller and his people have been saying, here is the Hood making good regardless.
After questioning the alcoholic John King about what's in his cup, the Hood gets right down to the meeting. It's time to teach the hero, Force, a lesson. Last issue, Force got the easiest win ever by arresting a bunch of drunk Syndicate members, only suffering some vomit on suit for the trouble. Payback time. Force is planning an arrest of a former Syndicate member, Shocker, later tonight. Now, with a little help from the Syndicate, Force and the NYPD might just have bitten off more than they can chew.
Later that night, we catch up with Shocker as he's accepting payment for an early job in Newark, New Jersey. This should be a lesson to never go to New Jersey because it's no time at all before he's greeted by a special NYPD Task Force with back up by Force.
Shocker doesn't actually realize how much a loser he's become in the last decade or so. He takes the fight as it's coming at him and, for the first time ever, I actually think he's cool enough to take on a super hero and maybe win. Sure, the odds are against him to escape the battle but Force might have met his match. The arrival of the Hood and his Syndicate is just icing on the cake and is something Shocker is certain to appreciate.
You might be as curious as I am as to why Parker, or John King for that matter, would put themselves at risk in a battle between his Syndicate and the NYPD Task Force especially when you consider that the Hood is depowered right now. I'm sure it's a confidence thing but it's still a foolish move to make at this juncture.
Mr. Fear's fear gas evens the odds even more and has the police seeing the Hood as a demon... which just frustrates Parker all the more.
It's not long before another player hits the field of combat. White Fang. She's all jacked up into a new power suit and is ready to use it. As soon as Shocker and Piledriver have taken down Force, White fang uses her sonics to take out the Syndicate, leaving the Hood for last.
Instead of locking Parker down, she beams him a very specific image: one Sarah and Bree. Does White Fang have his family? Well, she knows where they are and who they are, at least.
Dark Reign: Mr. Negative #3
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artist: Gianluca Gugliotta
Last issue, Negative Spidey took down the Hood's super thugs with gusto. Mr. Negative sent Hammerhead out on a mission of great urgency. Betty Brant was meeting with Martin Li's wife who lived in near poverty and had her own take on the Secret Origin of Martin Li. Norman had an unannounced meeting with Hammerhead. Mr. Negative hid some evidence in a fake mound and headed off to fight it out with the Hood. Negative Spidey had beaten all of Hood's super thugs and then found Betty Brant to pummel.
In this issue, the Hood fights it out with Mr. Negative while Spider-Man tortures Betty Brant. The Hood learns he is immune to Negative's powers. Betty learns that she can fake out Spidey before being rescued by Mrs. Li. We get another look at the origin of Mr. Negative from Mrs. Li before we learn that the Martin Li that is running around being all charitable isn't the same man Mrs. Li married. Mr. Negative continues the origin story while Spidey catches up on old times with Betty. We learn that Negative is, in fact, the snakehead smuggler that ran the Golden Mountain steamer ship aground and then escaped to shore only to be captured and experimented on by some of Silvermane's scientists, and getting his origin tied up with Cloak and Dagger. Betty nearly gets herself choked to death before Spider-Man breaks out of Negative's power. The Hood is about to end Mr. Negative's life before he is called off by Norman Osborn. Turns out Norman got a better offer and decides to save Mr. Negative's life on account of some evidence held by Negative of Osborn's nefarious dealings. We end by looking at both identities held by Mr. Negative and see that he was helped out by the Spot all along.
The Hood and Mr. Negative get their fight earnestly started but we're not interested in that right now. We're more interested in the fact that Spider-Man, under the influence of Mr. Negative, is dragging his first girl friend up the side of a building. Betty seems resigned to this fate as something that is obviously going to happen to her eventually. She's one of Peter's oldest surviving cast members and thing usually don't work out that well to Spidey cast members for this long.
She's not ending things today, though. Spidey's webline is attached to her heel so she removes the shoe and drops to the fire escape below her. While she's crashing into a nearby window, Spidey is pulling up her shoe and feeling disappointed. Betty's ended up cutting her heel on some glass when she broke through the window. A nearby housecat doesn't like her intrusion at all.
I feel like I should mention that Mr. Negative and the Hood are still engaged in one-on-one combat which makes for some nice fight scenes here and there but there's not much to talk about. It goes back and forth, back and forth for quite a while. One of the bigger points comes up right about here. Negative gains the upper hand for a moment and draws the Hood close to try his hand at turning the Hood into a negative version and slave.
Meanwhile, Spidey is following Betty's blood trail inside the building and right up a flight of stairs. He does his taunting thing all the way up. I bet he's more than disappointed to find that he hasn't been chasing Betty at all. He's been following a cat with a bloody rag tied to it's tail. Anyone who knows anything about housecats knows that the cat was more likely to focus on the damn thing on it's tail and try to get it off than blissfully travel up a couple flights of stairs. Why don't people actually GET cats?
Anyway, while this cat has acted like no cat I've ever known, Betty has made her way out of the building and is about to get some help from the wife of Martin Li. Brant tried interviewing this lady earlier in the day and was abandoned in the middle of the thing as Mrs. Li ran from the scene to tell Mr. Negative that she wasn't betraying him. Betty's not so trusting this time but she is willing to listen to more of Mrs. Li's story.
After Mrs. Li's husband lost his life on the failed Golden Mountain steamer trip, the snakeheads still demanded payment for the trip since Martin got there as a corpse. Mrs. Li didn't have the kind of money they were looking for and ended up being punished for it. While she was being tortured, Mr. Negative broke into the building and tore the Snakehead Gang apart on his path to take over the White Dragon's gang. When he saw Mrs. Li chained up, he listened to her tell her story about her husband, Martin Li, and about Golden Mountain before cutting her down. For a moment, Mr. Negative revealed his positive self but it's just for a blink of time. Mrs. Li goes on to tell Betty that the Martin Li running around saving lives and running legitimate businesses isn't the man she married.
This shocker is interupted by the sudden but inevitable appearance of Spider-Man.
Back at the Hood/Negative smack-down event, we learn that Mr. Negative's powers have no effect on the Hood. Negative senses that the Hood has given himself all the way over to the Dark Side of the Force and, as such, has a specific weakness.
It's time to learn the True Secret Origin of Mr. Negative. Negative isn't Martin Li. Not the original, at least. He's actually the Snakehead who forced the Golden Mountain in too close to shore and caused it to run aground. The Snakehead freaks out because he has a record and doesn't want to end up in jail or deported. So, what does he do? He grabs some identification from a man named, you guessed it, Martin Li. Martin had already died during the journey so they're pretty easy to steal.
The new Martin Li has been well-fed during the journey and easily makes the trip to shore that kills the other illegals. He tries to find some of his fellow smugglers to find out why they never contacted him during the journey and learns that they're already been killed by the Maggia. The future Mr. Negative is easily caught and brought before Silvermane who drops him in for experimentation on Ellis Island. He ends up escaping along with Cloak and Dagger (because they were all involved in the same experiments and share similar origins). Leaving the facility, Mr. Negative learned that he had some sort of dark energy that enveloped him.
That's enough origin. You can guess the rest. If you can't, you can ask wikipedia or something. ;)
We need to figure out what's going on with Peter Parker. Oh, he's strangling Betty Brant. Long time Spidey readers might recall that Betty Brant used to be annoying as hell and might even have been tempted to virtually strangle the girl themselves. They'll also rememember that Betty got a lot better (and much less clingy) when she stopped trying to go out with Peter and settled for Ned Leeds. We don't need to strangle her anymore and neither does Peter. Luckily, he's now able to fight his dark self enough to prevent him from taking the life of his oldest friend and free himself from the dark influence all together.
Spidey thanks Betty for helping to bring him around and for not blaming him for what he did under the influence of evil, and Betty accepts.
Back at Mr. Negative's headquarters, the crime lord is finishing his story with a lesson. Mr. Negative isn't all about crime. He's also about good. He's created two people to indulge in both halves of yin and yang. He's a full person. The Hood, who has given himself fully over to darkness, is half the man he used to be and can't do anything but fall.
This might actually mean something to the Hood except for the fact that he's got the upper hand in this fight and Mr. Negative doesn't.
Before Hood can deliver a killing blow, he gets a call from your friend and mine, Norman Osborn. Ozzy's tells Parker to call off the strike and let Mr. Negative go. After his meeting with Hammerhead, Norman's made a deal with Mr. Negative and placed his operations under protection. HAMMER has already pulled out of this operation.
The Hood is pretty pissed at this move and decides he's going to kill Negative anyway. The problem is, Negative has already escaped. Looks like this one is a bust.
So, why did Norman call off the strike? Because Negative has some incriminating evidence that, if it fell into the right hands, could have seriously injured Norman's image. The details of this would make me have to go over the whole "Freak" debacle in the main Spidey book and you won't make me do that for any amount of money. I like Brand New Day but that was a low point. Very low. Needless to say, Norman and his company were involved in a shady deal involving experimenting on illegal chinese immigrants. It's pretty damning.
Norman talks about how he made the right decision to someone just off panel as he puts this incriminating evidence in a safe. He's had a good day. He put one of his fellow Cabal members in their place, got some evidence off the table, and now gets to plan the later demise of Mr. Negative. We pan over to the chairs behind the Director of HAMMER to learn that he is, in fact, talking to his Goblin Mask.
Yeah. Might be time to up that medication, Normy.
Also? That evidence that was just put securely away in Norman's safe? Stolen back by the Spot. Turns out that the Spot was working with Mr. Negative the whole time and has been providing the crime lord with updates and warning in regards to the Hood's hostile takeover. More, Spot zipped Mr. Negative out of harm's way while the Hood took Norman's phone call. All this so that Negative will eventually find a cure for Spot's condition. They just need to take down the Maggia first. Not for revenge, by the way. Just for the evil of it.
Days later, Betty Brant is meeting with Martin Li on a construction site. Martin is working on repairing his property and the rest of Chinatown after the incident that just went down. Betty tells her that she's doing an investigative article on him and that, instead of doing a negatively slanted piece, she was going to do something more balanced that might wind up in Frontline instead of the DB. Martin likes that approach. Balance. They might have a chinese symbol for that.
Betty asks Mr. Li if he's upset for all this damage caused to his home and community but Martin isn't sweating it. Without evil there can be no good, so it must be good to be evil sometimes, right?
Yeah, balance is lame but it creates a very interesting villain.
The New Warriors #10
Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Mark Bagley
This issue, the Hellions attack the Crash Pad and take Silouette and Night Thrasher prisoner. The rest of the New Warriors are warned about the incident but decide to rush in like true nineties heroes: hard and fast. After the battle gets rolling, White Queen and Night Thrasher's old lady play a contest for Firestar that depends on the New Warriors winning more individual fights than the Hellions. Since this is their book, they succeed, and Firestar is "allowed" to stay with the Warriors. The Hellions leave with what dignity they have... which is little.
Night Thrasher is returning with his girlfriend, Silouette, to the Crashpad after going several rounds with the Punisher and Bengal. He's in no shape for another fight but, unfortunately, that's exactly what he's running into. There be Hellions in the room.
The White Queen has been part of a minor subplot in the past couple issues, usually only appearing for half a page as she and the Hellfire Club tried to figure out who hacked into their computers for information on Firestar. This was done twice, the first time occurring in the very first issue of New Warriors by Night Thrasher himself. The second time wasn't by the New Warriors but it's enought to increase Emma Frost's paranoia over the incident. Her investigations lead her straight to the New Warriors, and she decided to lay down the law with her very own mutant students while the Hellfire Club upgrades their firewalls.
I believe this is the last appearance by the Hellions before they take a dirt nap over in Uncanny so we should go around the room and introduce them one last time to the three of you out there who really liked them. We have longtime members like Jetstream (whose mutant power is that he has a jet pack-- I don't get that either), Catseye (who can turn into a cat creature), Roulette (luck powers), and Tarot (who brings tarot cards to life). They're joined by newcomers Beef (who's the big, stupid tough guy) and Bevatron (who looks like he has some sort of light blast abilities).
Even thought they've just been through a fight with the Punisher, the two Warriors (Sil's not technically a member) don't go down like chumps. They prove that the Hellions just aren't as good as they should be and that there's a reason the New Mutants had a book and these guys didn't. Before they're able to force Thrash to surrender (because they've captured Silouette and his housekeeper, Tai), Duane is able to get a signal out to the Warriors alerting them to some sort of attack at the 'Pad but not really giving them much else to go on.
Night Thrasher surrenders and the White Queen tries her best to probe his mind. Since Thrash is in full Mary Sue mode at this point (the dude held his own against Punisher in the last few issues which is, in itself, amazing) Emma's mind probe fails because of some crazy mental barriers in place that nearly fry both her and Duane. They'll have to do this the old-fashioned way and just threaten his loved ones until he reveals the location of Firestar and the reason he was looking into the Hellfire Club computer network.
So you might want to know where the rest of the team has been hanging out. They've been in South America rescuing Speedball's mom from eco-terrorists. This gets a little muddy because Speedball's mother was actually working with the terrorists. This was long before 9-11 and we hadn't realized that you can't love terrorists even if they're family members. Besides, the Warriors didn't have any jurisdiction in South America. They take Speedball's mom back home with them and just pray she's learned her lesson on eco-terrorism.
On the trip back, the recieve Night Thrasher's signal and know that there's been some sort of attack on their base of operations but aren't able to discern the particulars. Marvel Boy (you might know him better as Justice) comes up with the plan for them to hit the scene hard and fast and get the element of surprise going for them. Teams in the nineties were always doing things hard and fast. This time, it's almost appropriate. Almost.
Speedball's mother decides to pull to mom card and forbid her son from engaging in any vigilante-type activities. Now, this is a douche thing to do to your son after he's pulled you out of a life of eco-terrorism in South America. It's not like Speedball can even get hurt in battle. His powers make him pretty immune to any form of attack he's faced yet. I get her point, but since she's the closest thing to a bonafide criminal in the room, who is only here because her son is a super hero and came to her rescue, I'd just bow out of this conversation and hope that no one remembers you're an eco-terrorist. After Speedy points out that he's nigh invulnerable for the third time, she relents.
The Warriors hit the 'Pad hard and fast. It's pretty sexy stuff. The Hellions are caught unaware and with their pants down giving the Warriors a clear advantage. Lesson to everyone out there: always hit things hard and fast.
After the initial shock settles, the Hellions get their game together and go on the offensive. There's no team tactic from anyone after the surprise hard and fast entrance. Everyone just picks a partner and starts the dance. Just to prove that maybe, just maybe, you should listen to your eco-terrorist mommy, Speedball gets hit by one of Roulette's bad luck disks and loses his powers. Roulette quickly changes to a good luck disk which causes Speedy to blast around the room after his powers come back on to the extreme.
Other fights go back and forth in the mighty Marvel manner. The only real interesting bit for all of this involves Firestar. She was once a Hellion for about five minutes and she knows all these people. She's fully willing to talk things out except she can't find one Hellion willing to give her the chance. All they do is attack.
While the Warriors battle it out with the Hellions, Emma Frost is finally getting some answers from the housekeeper, Tai. She learns that only the first breach of her systems was caused by the New Warriors. They were only looking for information on Firestar. Tai doesn't know who caused the second online hack of the Hellfire Club systems and deems the entire thing unimportant. Emma believes the woman and is now left with a conundrum. How do they settle her claim on Firestar?
Tai proposes they let this battle proceed and, to the victor go the spoils. That suits the White Queen just fine and the two settle down to enjoy the battle.
First out is Night Thrasher. Oh, yeah, yeah, he's a Mary Sue but he's also running on near empty at this point. It just makes sense that he'd eventually run out of steam and be taken out of the battle.
Nova is able to beat the hell out of Jetstream because... do I have to explain that one? The dude's mutant power is that he has a jetpack. That's not even a real power. It just means he has a jetpack. No-one can ever explain that properly.
Speedball is doomed to lose this fight and learn a valuable lesson about listening to your mother. Roulette uses a bad luck disk on him again and cancels out his powers one more time. The fall knocks him out of the fight. That's right. Roulette just got a win.
Marvel Boy is nearly overwhelmed by Tarot bringing multiple cards to life at the same time. Vance finally takes the battle straight to the mutant and uses a psychokinetic blast to take Tarot out of the fight. Since Vance never got the mutant training he should have and is still growing into his powers, this attack knocks him out as well. This one is a draw.
We wrap the last two up pretty quickly. Namorita has a clear advantage over the brute, Beef, and no-one is taken aback when she ends his threat. That just leaves us with one fight left.
Firestar's. How appropriate that she settle this thing. Turns out she already ended her fight earlier when she faced down Bevatron and the kid slipped and fell off the building. She re-enters the building with the seriously injured Hellion and shouts at Emma for playing her games with people's lives.
The White Queen tells Angelica the good news: she's free to decide her own destiny. Firestar answers back with a big "no duh." It looks like the outcome to this thing wasn't based on a fight after all because Firestar wouldn't have left regardless of who won. It's her life and she's not some pawn. So, she's staying and the White Queen gives up her claim on the young mutant.
There's another page of this book that has nothing to do with Emma Frost or any other going on in this issue. The nineties was the time where the one page subplot was king. It ruled with an iron fist.. or a thing like unto iron. Something like that. This is one of those subplots which, much like the White Queen subplot, has been laced into a couple prior issues. It involves a pyramid, an ankh, and a lady being flooded with crazy energies. It'll probably lead into the next story for the Warriors but, with Emma Frost gone, we'll be moving on to bigger and better things. I hope you'll be joining us!
And that's it. Next article is, like, eleven comics long so it may take some time to get done. I'll try to get it as quickly as I can!
Until then: Who Do YOU Trust?
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