Tuesday, April 24, 2018 • Morning Edition • "Assholes welcome."

Super Reads Siege and Realm of Kings 3

Written by SuperginraiX on Saturday, February 27 2010 and posted in Features
badguy85.jpgThe Siegin' continues!

Today, we check out Dark Avengers #13, Dark Wolverine #82, The Mighty Avengers #33, Thunderbolts #140, Nova #33, Realm of Kings: Inhumans #3, and Blast to the Past for X-Men #6.  Enjoy and spread the word!

Spoilers Ahead!

We finally get our Siege on as we explore the wonderful worlds of the Sentry and Daken.  There are also some other worlds we'll be visiting.

If this is your first time reading Super Reads, it's been around for a while, now!  We've covered everything from Secret Invasion through Dark Reign as well as War of Kings.  If you're interested in reading all that back story (and who wouldn't be?), check in the "Features" link at the top of the page, look for the "Super Reads" button and click away for DAYS of reading enjoyment.  If that's too many clicks for you, just hit HERE and get there in one shot.

OK.  That's done.  Now it's time to check on Crazy.

da13.jpgDark Avengers #13
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mike Deodato Jr.

Last issue, Norman was living out his own personal nightmares while Victoria Hand surrendered HAMMER to the Molecule Man in Dinosaur, Colorado.  After a lengthy debate where Ms. Hand kept losing more and more of her clothing, Molecule Man accepted.  He led Ms. Hand to Norman who was passed out and naked after MM messed with his mind... which is a great thing to do to a crazy person.  Sentry put himself back together first (since that's one of the things he seems to do) and started the fight all over again.  Molecule Man tore Bob apart but, again, that seemed to be temporary as the Sentry just kept coming back.  Bob made his own deal with Owen to let the man go in exchange for returning everything to normal which Molecule Man finally did.  The Sentry destroyed Molecule Man (or whatever he did to him) and then declared that he can control molecules... which is incredibly scary.  Bob flew off, leaving the rest of the Dark Avengers with the fear that they might be facing their very own Disassembled in the future.  Back at the Tower, Ms. Hand got Osborn to agree to a psych evaluation to deal with anything that might have happened when Molecule Man messed with his brain before the former Green Goblin locked himself in his private chambers and collapsed into a psychotic fit while Loki stood over him.

In this issue, we actually take a trip back in time.  WAY back in time.  Around 1600 BC, Moses announces the tenth plague and dark spidery tendrils descend from the sky over ancient Egypt.  We move forward to the Sentry's first meeting with Norman Osborn and expand the scene to include Ozzy giving Bob the super drug that originally gave him his powers.  We move even further forward to when Lindy shot the Sentry in the face with Captain Marvel's space gun.  This time, we expand the scene by having Lindy tell us exactly why she did it (because Bob was a drug addict who got his powers because he thought snorting strange science stuff would give him an amazing high) and stick around for Bob's eventual resurrection.  Sentry, or, rather, the Void isn't happy to have been shot in the head and a personal battle between the Sentry and Void goes on over killing Lindy.  The Sentry tried throwing himself into the sun but that doesn't go over too well because he's pretty much unkillable.  The Sentry and Void end up making an agreement of sorts and return to earth with another scene of dark spidery tendrils now spreading over New York City.

Let's head back, back, WAY back to the greatest Marvel character of 1643 BC.  Hey kids!  It's Moses!  Are you ready for some Bible fun?  Sure you are.  Moses is in the middle of telling the Israelites all about the tenth plague that will rock Egypt to its core.  That's the one where all the first born are killed unless they celebrate the Passover feast and mark their doors with the lamb's blood.  After telling the Israelites their instructions, he declares that this plague will let them all know that there is only one God.  As he says this, we get a nice view overlooking beautiful, downtown Ramses and if we look skyward, we'll see spidery black tendrils descending on the place.  This is supposed to show us God's plague in action and it will bookmark this particular story.

Now, you might not be a biblical man.  You might not be a Jew.  You might be some sort of atheist.  It's entirely possible.  What you now have to deal with is that, no matter what you believe, Moses is now a Marvel Character.  He might have even worn a cape.

With that out of the way, let's move our story forward a bit.  No.  Not to the present.  That would just be silly.  Let's move back to when Norman first met Bob Reynolds.  He gives the superhero his great motivational speech, does the whole ordering of Five Guys Burgers and Fries just like he did back in Dark Avengers #3.  They're about to walk out the door to enjoy their tasty Five Guys while Lindy watches them from the bed with that worried look on her face.  This is how the scene ended in DA #3.  Here, we stick around just a bit longer.

Right after the scene ended last time, Norman gave the Sentry a present that Tony Stark never would have offered.  It's a cylinder containing the super powered drug that originally gave Bob his powers.  Apparently, the formula was in the Sentry's files.  Norman has set up a lab to make this stuff for his Golden Guardian of Good.  Ozzy makes sure to point out that Stark could have done the same but didn't.  Bob hesitates on taking the serum but the former Green Goblin encourages him.  Lindy, still playing asleep on the bed, doesn't look any less concerned.

The results are immediate.  The Sentry explodes like a million suns of ecstacy.  At this point, everyone else is looking just a bit concerned by what just happened and they have a good reason to do so.  Sentry rises but he's changed.  The visual clue is that his word balloons are now black with with text.  That indicates the Void.  We'll go with that moniker for now.  The Void thanks Norman for the hit.  He and Norman leave the room as Ozzy declares the Void his "secret weapon."  Read into that all you want.  As we work on switching scenes, we get another player in the room that wasn't visible before.  It's CLOC, Bob's robotic supercomputer that helps the hero keep track of crises happening around the world.  It also records what's going on in Bob's life.

OK, let's move forward in time to three days ago.  This was the scene from Dark Avengers #9 where Lindy shot Bob in the head with Captain Marvel's space gun.  Sure, Sentry went down for the count but, since Bob showed up the very next issue for a battle with the Molecule Man and is, currently, all up in the Siege of Asgard, we all know that this is just one in a long line of deaths that don't actually stick.  Lindy isn't aware of this, however.  She thinks she's finally ended her husband's life and since she's pretty confident that Bob's dead, she's gonna let us all know why she did it as she explains it to CLOC for posterity.

Turns out it's all about his origin.  The Sentry let his wife in on his Secret Origin recently and it's one of the reasons Lindy has been randomly freaking out on people to kill or depower her husband (you might remember the lone scene back in Mighty Avengers where she begs Tony to get right on that).  Sentry's more public origin is that he innocently discovered "The Professor's" secret formula but we've all read the Sentry's second mini-series and know that he was actually a drug addict looking for a super high.  If you haven't read that mini or you want a refresher, the next couple pages relive that moment.  Bob broke into the lab with a bud and downed the secret formula, hoping to get as drugged out of his mind as he possibly could before his bud even had a chance to share.  The cops showed up but Bob was already on his way to paradise as the drug exploded with the power of a million suns.  Naturally, the lab didn't survive.

So that's all old information.  Want some new info?  We turn the page to learn that, once he's taken a secret formula to score a very expensive and explosive high, he went back for seconds, thirds, fourths, and fifths.  Then sixths, sevenths, eighths, etc.  The Professor came back to his destroyed lab and ponders rebuilding as the new Sentry asks him to make some more super drug.  This is that little thing that separates him from people like Captain America or Spidey.  Cap didn't keep on getting charged up after he got his powers and Peter didn't keep looking for radioactive spiders to bite him up.  In all three cases, the heroes already have their powers and don't need the recharge.  With Sentry it's not about the recharge so much as it is about the high.  That super formula fires up with the power of a million exploding suns, after all.  That's a hell of a shangri-la.

Now, is this any reason to shoot your husband in the head?  No.  Of course not.  It's one of those things where you help him get counseling (which he was getting) and maybe move yourself to a safe location.  The problem is, with the Sentry and the Void, there is no safe location.  Heck, the Sentry has thought he'd killed Lindy a couple times only to find her alive and well.  This isn't really the healthiest relationship in the world.  Lindy has wanted an out for a while and thought that the space gun was as good a way as any.  Besides, she doesn't think that Bob deserved the power of the Sentry with the way he went about getting it in the first place and what he's done since. 

Which is kind of a valid argument because what does the Sentry actually add to the world?  The Sentry's good deeds are ultimately balanced out by the Void so he's a zero-sum hero.  He can't do any good that isn't countered by an equal amount of evil and both acts are committed by different personas of the same person.  It's a wonder that no one tried to negate the Sentry and his powers a long time ago.

Which still doesn't mean Lindy's making sense.  She might be in an extraordinary situation but she's also on a first name basis with the Fantastic Four.  She had a support network if she had chosen to use it.  She starts rambling at this point; talking about how Bob tapped into some god powers when he took his super drug.  He's just like Moses and Jesus... but don't look to me why.  Lindy says this is stuff she picked up on at Sunday School but I never got that lesson.  So... yeah, let's move to the next scene and let the crazy lady rant a bit.

This is the point where the Void comes back to life.

You can tell it's the Void because the word balloons are black.

Void isn't happy that he's got to rebuild his face but he thinks some of the things Lindy's been talking about are hi-frickin'-larious.  Lindy does the next best thing to killing her husband and tries using the space gun on herself but that's not in the cards.  Void destroys the gun.  Lindy begs to be let go but it's not that easy.  The Void tells her that she's only still around because the Sentry loves her.  He really DOES love her.  The problem is, there's also the Void to deal with.  Multiple personalities are a mess and when we're dealing with super powers... ugh.  The Void spends a panel or two yelling at Lindy for betraying Bob before Lindy begs him to kill her.  That's just what the Void wanted to hear.

But not what the Sentry wants at all.  Because of the deal they have, the Void isn't allowed to kill Lindy.  The Sentry and the Void fight back and forth because the Void believes he should be able to kill her after she's asked him to do so.  The fight goes back and forth for a page before the Sentry decides that the only way to stop the Void is to hit the skies and fly into space.

As the Sentry flies away, CLOC tells Lindy that this is just how much Bob loves her.  He won't let his insane personality kill her.  That should be a Hallmark card.  It's precious.

We all know where this is going to end up.  It's where all Sentry's big battles go.  Sentry usually just throws his big bads into the sun.  This time, he's going one further.  To rid himself of the Void, he's going to throw HIMSELF into the sun.  The Void nags him the entire way but doesn't prevent Bob from doing the deed.

Of course, he doesn't die here either.  He's pretty much unkillable.  The Void blames it on not wanting it bad enough.  He then says that some of what Lindy said was spot on.  The Sentry isn't an actual hero because actual heroes do things.  The Sentry isn't able to actually accomplish anything because it's all got to be balanced out.  This is probably why the Sentry runs away when any major crossover event happens.  The scales would be too hard to balance out.  If Bob actually wants to accomplish anything, he'll need to stop trying to do good and just let the Void do his thing.  The scales don't need to balance, apparently.  Not if they go evil.

The Void claims that his actions might be pretty crazy but they'll lead to something good in the end.  To bookmark the whole thing, the Sentry flies back to earth and we get a page much like the Old Testament scene.  There's black, spidery tendrils falling down over New York City. 

Bob is obviously about to kill all the first born kids without giving them some sort of Passover loophole.

dw82.jpgDark Wolverine #82
Writers: Daniel Way & Marjorie Liu
Penciler: Guiseppe Camuncoli

Last issue, Daken missed a Dark Avengers meeting and Ms. Marvel went looking for him.  On her way to find the Dark Wolverine, she went over some of what she'd learned about the man while we got an inside look at just how messed up the world around us is.  After finding the son of Logan, the two had tea together at a Japanese tea house, and Karla tried to figure out just why they were doing that.  Daken related some history of one of his earlier assassination jobs where he was ordered to kill an old lady and wound up having tea with her.  In this version of the story, he walked away without killing her and comes to this place to get tea as good as the tea he shared with the old lady.  Karla saw through this lie and learned that Daken killed the hell out of that old lady.  She also learned that Daken has been messing with the Dark Avengers the entire time and that he simply comes to this teahouse to be alone.  Karla claimed to not be afraid of the Dark Wolverine but Daken countered that he doesn't care.  That's not what he's about at all.

In this issue, we enjoy some pre-siege shenanigans as Daken kicks the crap out of a HAMMER soldier that puked on his boots.  He then messes around with the Dark Avengers before Norman gives his rousing speech to his troops.  All of this is watched by the Norns, who think Daken would make a good agent to bring about another Ragnarok.  Hawkeye and Daken get into yet another romp.  The Siege of Asgard goes pretty much the same way it went in Siege but we get Daken's perspective on the events which is always fun.  Daken attempts to give information to one of the Asgardians but Iron Patriot kills the Asgardian before anything can be finalized.  Osborn hits the ground to to give Dark Wolverine new directions only to have Daken stab him in the back.  Turning his victim around, Daken gives Norman the third claw (the Muramasa coated one) right to his face.

Wait, a Siege story that actually has to do with the Siege of Asgard?  That's crazy!  Witness, if you will, the Siege of Asgard through the eyes of the Darkest of all Wolverines.

We'll start our story two hours prior to the Siege where troops are loading supplies into the HAMMER Helicarrier.  One of those HAMMER troops isn't as prepared for this invasion as his comrades and ends up losing his lunch right on Daken's shiny boots.  Daken probably doesn't like that very much so the HAMMER soldier apologizes for having pre-battle jitters.  Daken offers to help the man out... while getting his face more and more close to the HAMMER soldiers face.  Personal space, dude!  Anyway, Daken offers him a once in a life time chance to for sure make it out of this battle alive.  All the HAMMER Agent has to do is everything Dark Wolverine tells him to do.

The man agrees and Daken orders that he lie there and take what he's gonna get.  With that, Dark Wolverine smashes the HAMMER soldier's face into the ground and gives him a beating.  No battle for this HAMMER Agent.  He'll survive the day even if he spends it in the ER.

The rest of the Dark Avengers are gathered and preparing their minds for this battle.  For Venom, that means getting a last minute flirt in with Dark Ms. Marvel.  Now, normally, Karla might not be open to this sort of thing but a short talk with Daken later makes her much more receptive to the pick up lines of Mac Gargan.  If you'll remember last issue, you'll know that Karla and Daken had a creepy little date.

Dark Wolverine seems to be enjoying this pre-battle thing.  He's all philisophical about the whole thing and enjoying this for what it is: the end of the current way of things.  I'm pretty sure Daken knows that Norman's Dark Reign is about to end in flames.  He's already set things up and made some alliances for life after Osborn, after all.  I wouldn't expect the end of Dark Reign to end Dark Wolverine.  So this is a good moment for him to leap on top of crates and swagger in front of the troops while licking his bloody claws.

Seeing Norman flying in, Daken looks down at Ares and asks if the god of war is ready to give his life for Norman's cause.  There's no doubt in Ares' eyes.  The big guy is committed. 

While Norman delivers his speech to the Dark Avengers and HAMMER, Daken runs over the reason everyone is willing to jump when Osborn orders.  The Dark Avengers are being offered their freedom after this whole Siege thing is over.  Daken knows this is a lie.  It also shouldn't hold any sway on him since he's not under arrest.  He's working for Norman but isn't a carry over from the Thunderbolts.  The man is more free than the T-Bolt members.  All that's holding him is knowing more about Norman that he should.  That and the fact that Osborn probably has no intention of letting the Dark Avengers out of his service.

With the speech over, Daken lets the former Green Goblin know just how excited he is for this battle.  Norman, who has been butting heads with Daken ever since the Dark Wolverine series began, looks Dark Wolverine straight in the eyes and tells the mutant that he'll be keeping an eye on Daken.  As Iron Patriot walks away, Daken tells him that the feeling is mutual.

They won't just be watching each other.  It turns out that the Norns are also very interested in watching Daken and are doing just that.  Right now.  They've got Dark Wolverine right in their sights on a crystal ball.  Why?  It seems that the Norns believe that Daken could be the bringer of Ragnarok.  That's right.  Another one.  It turns out you can never have enough Ragnaroks.

Daken puts on his mask.  It's time to get into character.  Before we leave the pre-game show and get right to the Siege, we need one last interaction between Hawkeye and Dark Wolverine.  Daken has been working some major mojo on Lester ever since his series began and, at this point, Bullseye hates Daken with every fiber of his being.  After a little flirting, Hawkeye has a smashed arrow right at Dark Wolverine's neck.  Instead of following through, Lester shoves the mutant away and then goes on a rant about how he doesn't need to deal with one screwhead and all these incompetent HAMMER soldiers during this little Mission Impossible.  It's just too much.

Daken assures the assassin that killing him is the last thing on Dark Wolverine's mind.  After all, Daken's put a lot of work into conditioning the Dark Avenger.  Killing would be a waste.  Hawkeye doesn't like thinking that he's a slave to anyone but before he can, again, put an arrow to Daken's neck, Osborn stops the whole thing and assigns Hawkeye to the front lines after his outburst.  This is some sort of evidence that Daken is controlling all these events.

OK.  We can skip ahead to the Siege now.  We get a nice shot of HAMMER and the Dark Avengers facing off against a lot of Asgardians.  If you look, you'll see Balder, Fandral, and Hogun in the battle.  In one of the quiet moments of the battle, Dark Wolverine is left on his own and we get a little more confirmation that this is not the end of the Dark Wolverine story.  The captions tell us that this IS the end of Dark Reign but that Daken doesn't even care how it ends because he's already ready for the next chapter.  The reverie is broken when a HAMMER Agent calls out for help.  There's an Asgardian trying to spear him in the eye and he'd like very much if that didn't happen.

Daken doesn't even try to go for the rescue.

Dark Wolverine rejoins the fight and faces off agains one huge Asgardian warrior.  During this battle, Daken tells his opponent that he can deliver Norman and the Dark Avengers to the Asgardians.  All they need do is say the right word.  The Asgardian doesn't know why Daken would want to help them.  Dark Wolverine tells him that it doesn't matter WHY.  All that matters is whether they want his help or not.  Before the Asgardian can answer, Iron Patriot swoops in and fires off a palm blast that removes the Asgardian's head from his body.

Norman lands and gets an earful on Daken philosophy regarding war and how it's all a game.  Norman doesn't care about this crap and wants Daken to take these HAMMER troops to another location to assist.  Daken lays on some guff and Osborn grabs him by the shirt and asks if this is how he's going to be all Siege long.  Daken doesn't answer this.  Instead, he warns Norman of a threat from behind.

Norman turns around and gets stabbed in the back.  See, the threat was Daken.

I would never have thought those claws could cut through Norman's suit.

This isn't over yet.  Norman's been stabbed in the back but he's survived worse.  That Goblin Juice just keeps going and going.  This is going to require something more.  Daken walks up to the fallen Iron Patriot and puts his hand over Osborn's face.

It's time to deliver the third claw.  The Muramasa coated one.  Right to Norman's face.

All this is watched by the Norns who seem very pleased.  Very pleased, indeed.


The Mighty Avengers #33
Writer: Dan Slott
Penciler: Khoi Pham

In the last issue, the Inhumans welcomed Quicksilver back into their company after his exile for stealing the Terrigen Crystals.  The Avengers returned to the Infinite Mansion and got right back into the Avenging business which pissed Norman Osborn off to no end... and pleased Loki all the more.  At Project: Pegasus, Loki helped free the Absorbing Man from custody and used his influence to make the criminal roam the plant looking for secret stuff.  Osborn called a meeting of the Cabal and found that only Loki was in attendance.  Victoria Hand entered to inform the HAMMER Director about the goings on at Project Pegasus.  Back at the Infinite Mansion, USAgent tested out his new shield while Pietro searched the facility for signs of his sister but "Wanda" showed up in the main room to give the Mighty team a mission.  While the Scarlet Witch set up the spell necessary to send everyone out, Hank and Amadeus brain conferenced and scanned the imposter for her mystical signature.  This led both the Dark and Mighty Avengers to show up at Project: Pegasus for the same reasons.  As the teams met, the Absorbing Man found a Cosmic Cube and powered up.  It's team-up time!

In this issue, the Dark and Mighty Avengers fight it out with a Cosmic Cube powered Absorbing Man while Loki manipulates from his own lair.  Osborn sends the Sentry at the Absorbing Man while Hank has Amadeus patch him in to whatever intel Iron Patriot is recieving.  Absorbing Man uses his power to split the Sentry into his heroic and villainous halves and changes Ms. Marvel back into Moonstone.  Both Pym and Osborn fly into Project: Pegasus looking for the Absorbing Man's ball and chain which has also gained the properties of a Cosmic Cube.  One of Jocasta's many bodies is taken over by Ultron.  While the Absorbing Man keeps splitting people up, Pym wins the race to the ball and chain but it's a moot point since he's hit by the door on Norman's entry.  The Wasp tricks Ozzy into believing he's already got the ball and chain and is able to gain the upper hand pretty quickly.  Pym enters the battle with the Cosmic Cube charged ball and chain but it's not enough to turn the tide of battle.  Norman is falling apart after losing his prize but is given a spell-breaking sword.  Iron Patriot charges into battle with the sword and is able to stab the Absorbing Man with it and depower him as Loki works on the media to send this image out live.  The Mighty Avengers are made to look like chumps and asked to leave... all save USAgent who is stripped of his rank and title for working with fugitives.  Pym leaves after recording an image of Loki on his goggles.

Loki's been messing with the Avengers from day one.  He's the reason the original team formed though he did it very unwittingly.  With the Mighty Avengers team, it was a much more conscious decision though his end game is still not clear.  At this point, he's been helping the Mighty team dressed up as the Scarlet Witch, sending the team of various missions and building up their good name.  You'd think that the purpose for that would be to make Norman Osborn's Avengers look bad.  You'd think this was the end game for that plan since Loki's caused to two teams to meet in order to face the Absorbing Man.  You'd think a lot of things.

Right now, Loki is watching the battle from whatever secure location he's chosen for himself.  The god of mischief has his plans but he's not letting us in on them.

This is quite possibly the most awkward Avengers team-up ever.  There's not many moments where two Avengers teams get to work together and most of those were two groups of heroes (West and East coast teams).  The New Avengers and Dark Avengers DID have that team-up issue back in last years Avengers Free Comic Book Day comic.  That was the only other contender for most awkward team-up (unless we're including Great Lakes Avengers appearances and then we've got a lot more comics to choose from).  Here, we have two Avengers teams that are COMPLETELY different.  The New Avengers at least have some counterpart characters which makes the entire thing interesting to watch on different levels.  Here, not so much.  Pym and Osborn don't run the same kind of team and that shows on every page.

They're facing down the Absorbing Man powered up by a Cosmic Cube.  Osborn reasons that, while Crusher Creel is now super-super-super-powered, he's still a moron and that means they're attacks will at least distract the man from doing any major damage.  Pym knows a bit more about the Cosmic Cube and surmises that, since Crusher isn't cube-shaped, he doesn't have the same power levels as a real Cosmic Cube which is cube-shaped for a reason.  Pym goes on to suggest sending the Sentry in and ending this battle quickly.  Osborn isn't quick on listening to the Wasp but is eventually goaded into sending in his heavy-hitter.

The battle doesn't end here because the Absorbing Man doesn't fall easily.  While the Sentry goes to work, Osborn orders HAMMER to send them everything they have on Project: Pegasus' Cosmic Cube program.  Pym wants the same info and sets Amadeus Cho to work getting it... with a little junk food boost from Jarvis to help things along.  Both leaders start checking out that information immediately.

That Sentry vs. Absorbing Man battle isn't really going anywhere.  Creel won't fall no matter how many times he's hit.  Crusher decides to stop getting hit.  He grabs the Sentry and uses his newfound powers to split the hero into both the Sentry and the Void.  The two begin fighting each other instead of facing off against the Absorbing Man.  Dark Ms. Marvel tries getting instructions from her boss but Iron Patriot is too busy looking over information to pay much attention on how the battle is going.  Before Karla can do much on her own, she's smashed into the ground by the Absorbing Man's fist.  When the magic clears, Ms. Marvel is no longer Ms. Marvel.  She's back to wearing the Moonstone suit. 

Which probably isn't too much of a difference, power-wise.

Norman and Hank are both checking out the same information and both learn at the same time that Crusher Creel's ball and chain takes on the same abilities as the Absorbing Man regardless of it's location compared to Creel.  That means that, somewhere in the Project: Pegasus complex, there's a ball and chain with the powers of the Cosmic Cube.  The two leaders race off to get it first, Pym leaving Hercules in charge as he flies off.

Back at the Infinite Mansion, Amadeus Cho is focused on giving Hank navigational directions so that the ball and chain doesn't end up in the wrong hands.  Unfortunately, with Cho and Jarvis paying attention to the battle and the race, they both miss a very important moment in the life of Jocasta.  Jo has an infinite amount of bodies littered throughout the Infinite Mansion and one of them, Unit 1213 located 12,013 miles away from Cho and Jarvis, has just been infected with a nasty virus.  It's Ultron.  He's back and he's in one of Jocasta's bodies.  Possibly all of them.

Which is something he does.  Every one of Ultron's "offspring" is programmed to bring Ultron back to life if the super robot finds itself destroyed.  You'd think someone would try deleting that from Vision and Jocasta's code but it hasn't happened yet.

Back at the Absorbing Man battle, things are NOT improving.  Crusher's laid a hand on the Sinister Spider-Man and changed the villain into Scorpion and the symbiote.  Creel gets a good look at the Dark Avengers and sees Moonstone and Scorpion.  Now, he's upset he wasn't included in the gig.  He's not the only one who's noticed that there are villains in Norman's Avengers team.  There are reporters in the area and, while they can't send out a live feed, they ARE recording this for later.

Since that symbiote is loose, it's going to try and possess a new host.  Looks like Quicksilver got a little too close.  Before Pietro is able to be fully taken over by the symbiote, he calls in for help and Jocasta comes back online just in time to give Maximoff some vital info on symbiotes.  Learning that the symbiote is weak to fire and sonics, Quicksilver just starts running until he hits a sonic boom.  The Venom symbiote didn't stand a chance.

Leaving Herc in charge is going to have mixed results.  Believing that he can shatter the Absorbing Man's crystal form with the Vision assuming a diamond-hard state, Herc hurls his teammate at the villain.  The plan sort of works.  Vision hits Crusher's arm and DOES end up shattering it.  Unfortunately, Creel is able to quickly reform his broken arm.  The real damage hits the Vision who splits into the old-school Vision and Iron Lad.  This impossible moment is brought to you by a Cosmic Cube powered Absorbing Man.

Iron Lad is a teenage Kang the Conqueror who doesn't want to grow up to be Kang.  He also has some major feelings for Cassie Lang (you might know her better as Stature).  This is why the current Vision is dating Cassie because he is based on the original Vision's program files and the armor and brain waves of Iron Lad.  The meeting between Cassie and Iron Lad?  Just a bit wierd.

OK, let's get back to that race between Iron Patriot and the Wasp.  Hank is trailing behind while Norman is blasting through doors to reach his prize.  Pym decides that the direct route isn't necessarily the quickest and hits the air vents.  This buys him just enough time to reach the Cosmic Cube powered ball and chain just moments before Norman blasts through the final door.  The bad news?  That door smashes right into a tiny Hank Pym.

Norman Osborn is just moments from touching the Cosmic Cube ball and chain and getting anything he wants.  It's time for a little thinking on the part of Earth's Scientist Supreme.  Hank tells Norman that he already touched the Cosmic Cube.  He did it two minutes ago.  How else do you explain Norman being in charge of everything while the heroes are all on the run?  This causes Norman to pause long enough for Pym to grow super size and block Iron Patriot from taking the Cosmic Cube ball and chain.

Outside, the Absorbing Man battle is still raging.  Stature fights alongside Iron Lad and they both know that when this battle ends, Iron Lad goes away again.  Iron Lad doesn't even flinch.  This is what a hero would do and he's totally a hero right now.  It's only in the future that he'll become Kang.  Meanwhile, old-school Vision fights alongside Hercules while the Dark Avengers, Hawkeye and Wolverine, roll their eyes at these old-fashioned heroes.

But this is the old-fashioned Avengers book so most readers are pretty happy with that sort of thing.  Heck, as much as I like Dark Avengers and New Avengers, it's nice to see this team doing it's thing. 

Speaking of, Hank has emerged from the Project: Pegasus facility with his brand new ball and chain and is putting it to good use: slugging Crusher in the face with the thing.  Sure, it looks pretty awesome but USAgent is the first to notice that it isn't doing much good on it's own.  It'll take more than just Hank Pym to end this battle and put things back the way they belong.

You know who hasn't realized that yet?  Norman Osborn.  Normally, the former Green Goblin has it PRETTY together.  Sure, he's fraying at the seams but he usually only falls apart behind closed doors.  Now, he's down on his knees and moping in the emptied Project: Pegasus facilities.  He's even having an out loud conversation with his Green Goblin persona and they're almost ready to point a palm blaster at his head.  To the rescue?  Loki.

That's right.  Loki.  Go figure, right?  Loki tells Norman that the battle isn't won just yet and that it'll take a very special weapon to achieve that end.  Remember back when the New Mutants and X-Men were fighting it out in Asgard and the dwarves gave Cannonball a spell-breaking sword?  Loki's giving Norman the same thing.  This is the type of sword that won't kill.  It'll just break Asgardian Enchantments.  It's the perfect weapon to fight the Absorbing Man since Crusher was originally given his powers by Loki.

Funny how that works.

It'll come none too soon.  Hank Pym's charge with Crusher's ball and chain didn't last long before the Absorbing Man was able to get a hold of the thing.  With that, Crusher Creel is back in control of the battle and it looks like all is lost.  The media present sure thinks so and makes sure that they get all of this on tape.  This won't do at all for Loki.  He erases the events of the day so that the press won't actually know that the Dark Avengers are villains.  That's not what he wants remembered from this day.  What he wants to show the world is Norman Osborn, flying through the air, magic sword in hand, ending this thing.

Norman plunges the sword into the Absorbing Man's oversized chest.  Like I said, it's not a fatal wound since it's not that type of sword.  The cameras start going out live, showing America's true hero striking out for justice against a threat to liberty and freedom (or something-- all I know is he dedicates this win to the people of planet earth-- it's a huge PR win).  The enchanted blade disintegrates in the battle but it does the job.  Crusher is depowered and everyone is back to normal.  Loki has given Norman a very public win and made his own team of Avengers look like second-rate heroes.

It's a humbling experience for our heroes, even though USAgent is super happy for how things turned out.  He's a big fan of Osborn which isn't even a little surprising.  Unfortunately, that hero worship isn't going to win him any points.  Norman asks the Mighty team to leave the area but won't allow USAgent to go with them.  Since Walker is working with fugitives, Ozzy strips him of his rank and title.  There's probably a court martial in his future, too.

You might think this is worrisome to Pym.  It certainly is to the rest of the Mighty Avengers.  Still, Hank has other things on his mind.  He has Cho save a particular image for later viewing and then takes his team of Avengers home.  While the Mighty team takes off, they hear the cheering of the press.  This time, it's not for them.  It's for the Dark Avengers.

Back at the Infinite Mansion, Herc asks what the plan is to rescue USAgent.  Hank doesn't have one because he's working on something else entirely.  They head to the ready room to get a look at that image he had Amadeus save for him.  It's a crowd shot of the press.  Right there, in sector 12, is Loki.  The god of mischief.  Looks like he just gave himself away.

Now what will the Scientist Supreme do with that information?  How does Ultron play into things?  We'll find out soon enough!


Thunderbolts #140
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artists: Miguel Sepulveda & Sergio Ariño

Last issue, The T-Bolts met up with Norman Osborn who gave them a brand new member: Grizzly.  Ozzy told the T-Bolts that he wanted the Agents of Atlas wiped completely out of existance for every daring to cross him.  Grizzly gave the team a rundown on just who the Agents are and they headed off to Louisiana to confront their target.  Ant-Man placed charges all over the facility and he and Ghost exited the building just before Scourge blew it up.  Ghost was around to get some antidote for the poisons they just blasted into the air.  The Agents showed up and it was game on.  Venus tried to stop them with her powers but they interfered with Scourge's crazy and the T-Bolts leader started blasting.  The T-Bolts still aren't fighting at full strength and they're all subdued in a couple pages.  The Agents of Atlas began to feel the effects of the poison in the area and Bob showed up to get them some help... which is about the time that Scourge sliced the Uranian's guts open.

In this issue, the T-Bolts rally nicely as the Agents start panicking.  Just when the Thunderbolts are about to pull a win, Venus notices Bob's unconscious form and starts singing away... this time not a song of love but the opposite of it.  They each live out their worst nightmares.  With everyone facing Venus's song, the Ghost swoops in and takes M-11 out of the fight.  Venus learns that Bob isn't hurt at all.  He was just stuck in Scourge's mind.  Since the Agents need to leave and get healed from that poison gas, they bolt but not before placing a mental image in Scourge's head to try and assassinate Norman Osborn when next they meet.  The Ghost hitches a ride on the Agents' saucer and then heads out to his guest appearance in The Invincible Iron Man.  The Thunderbolts return to the Cube and get their new mission from a holographic image of Norman Osborn.  Scourge sees the image and fires at it... hitting the Headsman with his shot.

The Uranian's guts are spilling all over the swamp.  It's a game changer.  The Agents of Atlas had this thing basically wrapped up until Scourge did the ol' slice and dice.  Now, the good guys are freaking out and the Thunderbolts are taking total advantage of the situation.  Mister X starts kicking Jimmy Woo around the place and Grizzly sends Gorilla Man flying. 

Which isn't to say it's a complete turnaround.  Namora is still a big hitter and isn't going down easily.  She's still going down but it's from a combination of the poison spreading throughout the swamp and a nice blast from Paladin's gun.

All of this upsets the hell out of Ant-Man.  O'Grady was hoping that he'd be able to escape his obligations to the team with their defeat in this battle and play dead until Norman lost power.  With the T-Bolts turning this around, he might have to keep playing the game.  It's not something he's looking forward to doing.

M-11 still poses a challenge but he's overcome by a good swing of Headsman's axe.

Which leaves Venus.  She hasn't been paying too much attention to the goings-on of this battle since her opening attack failed, so when she finds Bob lying on the ground with his intestines laying beside him, she freaks out.  She lets go with a scream of monumental proportions.  As Ghost observes, this isn't the love song she usually lets loose.  This is a song of mourning and it hits EVERYONE very hard.  Well, everyone except Ghost who puts everything on mute and remains slighty intangible to escape it's effects.

Everyone lives their worst nightmares, real or imagined.  Headsman gets to relive a moment from his childhood of finding his dead dog after his brother has killed it.  Paladin relives the regrets he has working for the Green Goblin.  Grizzly sees himself as the loser who couldn't stand up to Spider-Man.  Mister X loses the fight against multiple Wolverines (which is totally satisfying because Mr. X is a big dick).  Scourge lives in a world without war.  It's a nightmare all around.

Ghost passes by Ant-Man and sees that he's living with the regret of leaving his pregnant girlfriend.  While this is going down, M-11 is putting himself back together and, since the robot is immune to Venus' song, he'll probably be the one to end this.  Well, he would if Ghost didn't end him first.  Ghost phases through the Human Robot and shorts out his circuitry. 

By this point, Venus has stopped her song of mourning and learns that Bob isn't even hurt.  It turns out the Uranian faked the whole thing but then got himself stuck in Scourge's mind and wasn't able to free himself in time to prevent things from going very badly for his teammates.  Scourge's mind is super messed up.  The Agents are still being affected by that poison gas that's spread through the entire area and need to make a quick retreat.  This isn't exactly a win for them but at least they get to live to fight another day.

Before Jimmy heads up to the Saucer, he and Bob take another poke inside Scourge's head.  They've got a specific mission in mind for the lunatic.

Scourge's mind is a warzone where he's pretty much in constant battle.  Bob and Jimmy take the forms of Army Officers and give Scourge an important mission.  They tell the sergeant that his immediate supervisor is a traitor to his country and, when next they meet in person, must be killed.  Scourge agrees to the mission to assassinate Norman Osborn and the Agents of Atlas race off before the poison can do any more damage to Jimmy Woo.

Meanwhile, Ant-Man debates what he should be doing.  He could still fake his death.  Everyone else is still unconscious and, if he disappeared right now, they might just think M-11 disintegrated him.  Before he can rush off into the night, the Headsman wakes up.  O'Grady's stuck with the team.  Headsman tells Ant-Man that he's got family in the area (his brother from his nightmare) and the two muse about showing up on his brother's doorstep in full battle gear.

By this point, the rest of the T-Bolts are awake and Grizzly comes over to collect Ant-Man and Headsman.  The others are helplessly firing on the Agent's Silver Saucer as it flies off.  This is another failed mission in a long line of failed missions for the Thunderbolts.  Osborn probably won't be very pleased.  Scourge greets Ant-Man and Headsman and wonders aloud if they were thinking about deserting.  O'Grady tells his leader that they were just suffering from Venus' attack and Scourge counters that they're all in control of their own minds.  Mental attacks are just for the weak willed.

The team boards the Zeus and begins their flight back to the Cube. 

Before we follow them, we'll skip back over to the Agents of Atlas and their Saucer where the Agents are all being healed up from their exposure to deadly toxins.  Bob lets Jimmy know that their mental intrusion on Scourge's mind might not actually lead to the assassination of Norman Osborn.  It might play itself out in completely different ways.  Before they can continue talking about that business, the Uranian detects the presence of an intruder. 

It's the Ghost!  He's aboard the ship and looking around.  He doesn't stay long.  Ghost uses this opportunity to escape the ship and pursue his own agenda while the rest of the team believes he's still on the trail of the Agents.  Where will Ghost show up?  Why, over in The Invincible Iron Man!  Watch as the Ghost tries to assassinate Tony Stark!

Back with the T-Bolts, they're enjoying their ride back to the Cube with some post-battle banter.  Grizzly's happy that he was finally able to throw Gorilla Man around and Paladin is just happy that everyone lived given the lousy intel they recieved.  He senses that Norman Osborn has something else on his mind that might be interfering with how prepared they are for combat.  They also talk about how Ghost was seen boarding the Agents of Atlas' ship so there's still a chance of crashing the thing.  O'Grady is more interested in just how hot Venus was.

The Zeus lands and the T-Bolts don't even get settled in before they're sent on their next mission.  A HAMMER Agent sets up a holographic projector and then leaves since he's not authorized to view its contents.  O'Grady and Headsman seem to have bonded in that last fight as they're both talking about setting up a fire pit and maybe barbecuing. 

The holographic message starts.  It's Norman Osborn's face and it's a prerecorded message that gives away NO mission details.  It's basically a feel-good message setting them up for whatever awaits them in Siege.

But that's not the important bit.  Remember just a few paragraphs ago when Bob told Jimmy Woo that their programming of Scourge might not work out as planned?  It doesn't.  Instead of waiting to see Norman in person, Scourge fires at the prerecorded holographic image and hits the person on the other side of the hologram.  It's a headshot on the Headsman.  The rest of the T-Bolts restrain their team leader but the damage is already done.

The Headsman is dead.

n33.jpgNova #33
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artist: Andrea DiVito

Last issue, Nova and Darkwing were sent to a made up world and battled alongside his old enemy, the Sphinx.  They met up with a past version of Reed Richards and looked into what he was working on.  Darkhawk and Nova went exploring but Nova is knocked back before going too far skyward. Darkhawk is left to face a group of sand enemies all alone.  The next morning, they found two more time lost visitors: Black Bolt and Namorita (the one wrapped up like a mummy).  Darkhawk gathered information last night showing that they were not in 1920's earth, but actually on a magical construct.

In this issue, Nova gets some time with his ex-girlfriend, Namorita, who is currently dead (it's a miracle of time travel kind of thing).  Mr. Fantastic explains the dangers of revealing the future to time travellers before the Sphinx starts an attack with more sand minions.  The heroes escape into the pyramid and gets zapped with a beam that gives them blissful dreams.  Only Darkhawk isn't affected and has to wake them up.  When they come to, they witness to Sphinxes attacking each other.  It turns out this is a battle between and old, dying Sphinx and his younger self.  The cocky, younger Sphinx summons his own team to do battle with the older Sphinx's champions: our heroes!

So... let's say that your significant other, who you loved dearly, died a horrible death.  Now, let's pretend that, years later, that significant other visited you through some crazy time travel phenomenon from BEFORE they died.  Finally, you can't tell them that they're going to die a horrible death because it would destroy the fabric of reality be potentially ripping time apart.

This is the situation that Nova is in and, even though it doesn't follow well established Marvel rules on time travel, it's what Reed is telling him.  What are the Marvel rules on time travel?  Well, let's just say you go into the past and kill your own grandfather before he had a chance to father any children.  Normally, this would create a time paradox.  In the Marvel Universe, it would just create an alternate timeline that would then exist separately from your own where you would never have killed your granddad.  I mean, what did he do to you, anyway?

Because of the multiple timelines rule, time travellers can do whatever the hell they want.  If they want to go back in time and kill Hitler, they totally can.  It just won't affect their own past.  There are moments where time travellers have interfered with our OWN past but that's because they already DID interfere and we're probably in our own alternate timeline.  That's when the headaches start happening.

Maybe Reed hasn't discovered this whole principle at his particular point in the time stream because he's warned Nova and Darkhawk about revealing anything that happens in his or anyone else's future.  Since Richard listens to people like Mr. Fantastic, he's not going to tell Namorita anything about her horrific fate.  He's got to hide the truth from her.  Heck, he's got to hide Black Bolt's fate from the King of the Inhumans as well.  It looks like Nova and Darkhawk have met up with two dead people walking.

This means Nova's going to be in an uncomfortable situation as long as he's hanging out with Namorita... and that's going to be for a lot of this issue.  Namorita is from a much happier time when Rich and her were young and in love.  Their relationship ended before her death but that doesn't mean that Nova took her death easily. 

Besides the discomfort associated with hanging out with dead people and not being able to tell them they're going to die, this is going to be a fun little alliance.  Our heroes are past the greeting stage and start trying to figure out just what the Sphinx wants with them and why he placed them on a magically constructed world in a facsimile of 1920's Egypt.  They don't get time to come to any conclusions before the Sphinx attacks with an army of sand warriors.

This Sphinx looks a lot younger than the one Nova and Darkhawk met on their arrival.  This fact doesn't concern Reed Richards who knows that the Sphinx is a time travelling interdimensional being.  Still, it's something to remember for later.  As the battle kicks into gear, Namorita is excited to be fighting side by side with Black Bolt and Mr. Fantastic.  She thinks this is the biggest thing to ever happen to the New Warriors.  Since Richard is in charge of his own group of galactic space cops and has hung out with Earth's greatest heroes a little bit more often than Namorita, this isn't such a big deal to him.

As the battle hits high gear, our heroes realize that the 1920's-looking Egyptians they've been defending are just more sand creatures that fall apart when hit by the Sphinx's blasts.  Faced with overwhelming odds, our heroes retreat to the cover of the Pyramid.

Nova holds back the bad guys with a gravimetric shield (which surprises Namorita) while Reed tries to gain access to the inner chambers.  Mr. Fantastic gets a nasty shock from the door.  Darkhawk gets a different reaction.  Chris feels the door calling to him through his amulet and reaches out to touch it.  It releases a different type of blast which hits everyone.

Whatever the blast is, what it does is give everyone a dream of a better life.  Nova dreams that he never broke up with Namorita.  The New Warriors were never in Stamford.  The Civil War never happened.  Nova was able to help stop the Skrull Invasion before it happened.  Earth's heroes stopped Annihilus before Annihilation happened.  Black Bolt wasn't replaced by a Skrull and the Inhumans never took to the stars for revenge.  The War of Kings never happened.  That means the T-Bomb was never created and never ripped a hole in the universe.  It's a good dream.

WE pull back to what passes for reality to find Darkhawk waking up from the blast.  It didn't give HIM any of these blissful dreams but he sees his friends and allies all caught up in a web of energy and fast asleep.  Darkhawk tries shouting at the heroes to wake them up but they remain unresponsive.

Before Darkhawk succeeds in waking them up, let's check in on their dreams of bliss.  Reed dreams of preventing his biggest blunder: he avoids the cosmic rays that would give he and his family their powers.  They, instead, have normal lives.  Black Bolt dreams that his parents are still alive and that the Inhumans have peace with the rest of the world.  Namorita dreams of having a regular Atlantean family, being Namor's sidekick, and making out with Nova.

And that's about the time that Darkhawk succeeds in waking everyone up.

It seems like these dreams were to show everyone that time CAN be rewritten.  Everything CAN be better.  But... why?

Everyone wakes up groggy in a place much different from the Pyramid they were in before.  They're still in or near the Fault but now they witness two Sphinx monuments firing energy beams at each other.  Behind them, they find a very old Sphinx attached to wires and stuff. 

Old Man Sphinx is upset to see his champions in here when they're supposed to be outside winning his battles for him.  He tries avoiding telling anyone what this is all about but Nova isn't about to let it go with a riddle. 

So, Sphinx explains himself.  He had been running around in the time stream so long that he'd been poisoned by it.  Temporal Cancer.  He was unable to move through time any longer and was stuck permanently in a prison of the Now.  When the Fault opened, the Sphinx was able to use it to break that cycle.  Summoning his younger self, he tried to convince Young Sphinx to turn away from the path that had led Old Sphinx to getting Temporal Cancer.  Unfortunately, Young Sphinx  doesn't listen and decides to use this situation to his own advantage.

It turns out that the Sphinx's power source, the Ka Stone, can only exist alone which means an older and younger Sphinx can't exist in the same time under normal circumstances.  The Fault is wierd enough that these natural rules don't apply.  Young Sphinx wants to use that wierdness to get his hands on two Ka Stones at the same time which would somehow allow him to ascend to godhood.  It's not something that anyone wants to happen except Young Sphinx.  Old Sphinx certainly isn't about this plan.

Even though Old Sphinx is dying, the two Sphinxes wield equal powers.  The reason Nova and friends are here is to tip the balance in Old Sphinx's favor. 

Young Sphinx tries to end their threat quickly but these heroes aren't amateurs.  Unfortunately, they aren't followers, either.  Nova tries to take charge but he's in the company of Mr. Fantastic and Black Bolt.  To many Alpha Dogs and it's going to get someone hurt.  Young Sphinx's second attack is more successful and temporarily downs our heroes.  Only the fact that Young Sphinx is uses most of his power to counter his older counter part saves our heroes from certain peril.

That's OK.  Young Sphinx can play the summoning game as well as Old Sphinx.  For his part, Young Sphinx summons up Constrictor, Moonstone, Ulysses Bloodstone, Man Wolf, and a Green Amulet Raptor.  Next issue is face off time!

roki3.jpgRealm of Kings: Inhumans #3
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Penciler: Wellington Alves

In the last issue, the Mighty Avengers began "helping" the Inhumans defeat Devos the Destroyer.  Crystal and Ronan are aided by Quicksilver in a battle with Alpha Primitives.  Vision located the Prime Devos unit and Karnak neutralized him.  Quicksilver and Crystal had a talk about her new husband and why Pietro had come here in the first place.  Hank Pym and Medusa discussed matters of state and noticed the parallels in their own lives.  There's more talking heads as Pietro and Crystal talked about the Inhuman's new role in the universe as their daughter looked on... and Ronan got a little jealous on the sidelines.  Pietro gave Medusa back the Xerogen Crystals recovered in Mighty Avengers #21.  We met Dr. Vere and Lord Zarek (no relation to the Transformer's Lord Zarak: the head of Scorponok) and learned that they were responsible for the Alpha Primitives getting all rebellious with a little help from their Omni-Wave Generator.  In the Fault, the Inhuman scouting party had located a sonic wavelength that might possibly belong to their missing king, Black Bolt!

In this issue, Gorgon battles a Destructoid as many of the other Inhuman Royals watch.  Crystal and Ronan lead a group of Kree soldiers into battle against Lord Zarek and Dr. Vere.  Triton and the Inhuman scouting party find the remains of the T-Bomb within the Fault and then come across Black Bolt himself.  Back on Hala, the battle between the Kree dissidents and loyalists heats up but is ended by the combined efforts of Crystal and her husband.  Crystal uses her control of water to disable the Omni-Wave Generator and that gets the Alpha Primitives under control.  Aboard the T-Bomb, it looks like Black Bolt and Vulcan are still locked in combat but it's learned that what Triton and his team are looking at are actually images of the past.  Black Bolt isn't actually here nor is Vulcan.    Triton ensures that this loop of recorded time is stopped.  On Hala, Crystal and Ronan are about ready to interrogate Dr. Vere only to learn that he's dead.  More than that, they learn that Vere wasn't even Kree.  He was a construct created by Maximus who is back to his old games again.

Hey!  It's a Destructoid!  You know what those are, right?  Me neither!  That's why we have that fancy text in this book to tell us that a Destructoid is a huge Kree war machine manned by hundreds of personnel and used for planetary assault.  They aren't very economical or accurate so they aren't in high demand.  This one is being manned by a bunch of angry Alpha Primitives. 

As illogical as it sounds, Gorgon is attacking this behemoth by himself with his energy mace.

In their secured location, Medusa, Gorgon, and Maximus are monitoring the battle.  Medusa is asserting her position over the rest of her family by making sure that even when alone, they are calling her Queen.  Watch as Mad Max undermines that show of authority by playing up just how awesome Gorgon is looking to the Kree people.  Gorgon is acting out his emotions about the "death" of Black Bolt by becoming a hero to the Kree people.  That status could also undermine Medusa's position and make it harder for her son to take power when he gets of age.

Medusa orders Maximus to be silent and gets back to the matter at hand:  why is there a Destructiod manned by Alpha Primitives and why is it attacking them?  Max decides to answer the question with his own theories and pretty much lets us all know that he was responsible even if the rest of his family don't REALLY take the hint.  Sure, they're waiting for Maximus to go evil again but they believe him under some sort of control.  Let me tell you now:  he isn't.  This is all him.

But he's not doing it directly.  Someone else is actually controlling (or at least enraging) the Alpha Primitives.  Those people were introduced last issue: Lord Zarek and Dr. Vere.  Crystal has managed to track them down using the trust she's built with the Kree people.  She and her husband, Ronan, are now leading a Kree combat unit to take them out.  Because Crystal wants to maintain a good relationship with the Kree, she's not looking for a body count.  Ronan complies by ordering his men to use stun shots only.

While that's starting to get interesting, let's move over to the Fault.  Triton is leading a group of Inhumans and Kree as they explore the Fault and look for their missing king.  Last issue, they started picking up a sonic signature that matched up with Black Bolt.  Triton isn't one to just believe what is placed before him and has that signal checked and rechecked.  He's hoping for the best but doesn't want to be disappointed or, worst, ambushed on account of a false signal.  Everything checks up as the genuine article and they're flying in to find the signal's origin.  What they find is the shattered remains of the T-Bomb.  Since that's the last known location of their king, it looks like they're on the right track.

Triton leads a boarding party inside.  They find loads of Terrigen radiation but no life signs.  They also pick up sound.  In the vacuum of space.  Turning around, they see just what they were hoping to find: Black Bolt.

Back on Hala, Ronan is engaging in personal combat with Lord Zarek.  After Zarek insults his wife, Ronan gets mad and ends the fight... maybe a little bloodier than he would have otherwise.  Crystal likes the sentiment of her honor being defended but is really hoping Ronan didn't kill Lord Zarek in the process.  Ronan's words don't really confirm if Zarek is dead or alive.  Taken literally, he used just about a non-lethal hammerblow.  That would mean that it was still lethal... so maybe Zarek is dead.

While we're trying to figure that out, more Alpha Primitives make the scene and the battle heats up again.  Ronan panics, believing his wife is being put in harm's way but we're talking about a former Avenger here.  She's not going to be bested by a bunch of Alpha Primitives no matter how angry they are.  The Accuser stands in awe as Crystal takes care of business.

Now, they just need to confront Dr. Vere and get this Omni-Wave Generator out of the way and this thing is over.  Vere is surprised and upset because he was expecting to win this thing.  When asked WHAT he was going to win, Vere responds that they were going for Kree independence even if it meant killing Kree to do so.  He's also rigged the Omni-Wave Generator to blow up as one last jab at "the man."  This isn't something Crystal is going to put up with.  The Omni-Wave Generator is poorly constructed at best.  With all those exposed wires and circuitry, it'd be a shame if it started raining indoors.

Which, with Crystal's control over the elements, is a possibility that has just happened.  That destroys the Omni-Wave Generator and also electrocutes Dr. Vere, who refused to get out of the way before it exploded. 

With the OWG destroyed, the Alpha Primitives are no longer revolting which means that Destructoid is no longer destroying things.  Gorgon calls in for a clean-up crew and then waits to recieve the adulation of the Kree people for a job well done.

In the Fault, Triton is trying to greet his king but is getting completely ignored.  Before you know it, Vulcan has shown up and is duking it out with Black Bolt yet again.

As the battle rages before them and the sonic cries grow louder and louder, Triton realizes that they aren't actually seeing live versions of Black Bolt and Vulcan.  This is all prerecorded stuff that was recorded on the T-Bomb's Echotech Capacitors.  When they entered, they activated some sort of feedback loop.  The sound is getting beyond deafening and into the destructive range.  Triton disables the Capacitors and the recording ends.  Picking up the tattered remains of Black Bolt's cowl, Triton believes they are nowhere closer to discovering the final fate of his cousin and king.

I bet good money they find him in a completely unrelated book three years from now.  My guess is it'll be an X-Title just to be different.

Now, what I'd do is check the records on those Echo Capacitors and try to find the last memory they recorded.  There might be a good clue there to finding Black Bolt.  We'll see if that's what they do.

On Hala, Crystal and Ronan are about to have a conversation about their feeling for one another.  They're married, but it's not one of those lovey-dovey marriages with hearts and flowers and unicorns.  It's a political thing that helped unite the Inhumans and the Kree.  Crystal has begun noticing that Ronan has very obvious feelings for her.  She tells him, using as much politicking as possible, that the feeling may possibly be mutual and that they may have to arrange some time in the near future to maybe show some physical signs of affection.  You know, if they can just fill out the paper work first.  Ah, romance.  You gotta love it.

But first, they're going to have to interrogate their prisoner, Dr. Vere.  That's going to be hard to do because he's dead.  Ronan wonders if he died in the lightning explosion that resulted when Crystal brought the rain but it doesn't seem like there was enough current to kill a Kree.  Crystal gets a closer look, finding that Vere isn't a Kree at all.  They pull off the face, discovering that Vere was actually some sort of robot.

This robot has a very distinct look to him, too.  It looks very... Inhuman.  

As Crystal guesses just who is causing all this trouble, we pull away to find the culprit ourselves.  Yeah, it's Maximus the Mad.  He's up to his old tricks.  Who would have figured?

Yeah, most of us, actually. ;)


The X-Men #6
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciler: Jack Kirby

In this issue, the X-Men enjoy a meal as the Professor reads the paper, which brings Namor onto his radar.  It turns out Magneto is having the same thoughts and now it's a race to see who can recruit the Sub-Mariner first.  X and Magneto use their psi powers to search the ocean floor, but Xavier retreats to safety when he discovers Magneto's presence.  That means Magnus gets to the Sub-Mariner first, and after cajoling one of the Atlanteans, leaves a message for Namor.  The X-Men rent an old-time sailboat and sail off to meet Magnus and his new ally.  Namor recieves the message and rushes off to meet the Master of Magnetism.  Namor meets the Brotherhood and is nearly hexed by the Scarlet Witch before the X-Men arrive and force Namor to choose a side.  Battle ensues, and the X-Men's ship is destroyed.  The team makes their way to Magneto's island base using one of Iceman's ice platforms and more battling occurs.  Namor cancels his alliance with Magneto because Mags can't talk nicely to the ladies. Magneto quickly attacks his former ally in retaliation.  Eventually, the Brotherhood is in full retreat but Magneto leaves Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver behind.  Namor moves to defend Wanda before Xavier returns Pietro to them and lets them know that the real enemy is Magneto.  Mags tries one last attack on Namor and when the Sub-Mariner counters it, the Brotherhood escapes the island to fight another day.

Super villain team-ups.  They never work out.  At this point, Namor has teamed up with Doom and the Hulk and both times things ended badly for the jolly Sub-Mariner.  Hulk didn't outright betray Namor like Doom did but that's only because he wasn't given the time.  How do you think Namor's team-up with Magneto will go?

Yeah.  This is an easy guess.

But we've got to lead up to that sort of thing.  Let's start off by meeting out X-Men stars.  They aren't training or anything right now.  They are, instead, eating a well-cooked meal courtesy of Jean Grey.  She's a female, see. With the X-Men's regular cook away, she's forced to cook for the rest of her teammates.  At least Xavier has the good sense to thank her for her efforts.

This is the original team of X-Men.  We have Cyclops, Angel, Marvel Girl, Beast, and Iceman.  Professor X is still revered by his students.  It's an innocent time for our mutants, long before the "hated and feared" aspect became all-consuming.  In the opening scenes, we get a lot of random powers used by the X-Men in non-combat situations.  Cyclops blasts Beast's hand when he reaches across the table.  Iceman ices up some ice cream to put on his pie (don't ask how that works-- just pretend Bobby has ice cream making powers).  Jean telekinetically takes that piece of pie away from Bobby because the youngest mutant isn't using utensils.  It's all very casual, but gives you a hint at the powers involved here and how naturally they come to our X-Men.

While this is all going on, Professor Charles Xavier is enjoying his paper.  Inside, there's an article all about the Sub-Mariner.  Xavier wonders aloud whether Namor is a mutant or not.  Fearing that Magneto will recruit the Sub-Mariner first, Xavier decides that he's got to start looking for the Atlantean.

On Magneto's island base, he's already thinking about Namor and how to lure him to the Brotherhood.  This isn't your modern version of Magnus.  This is totally evil Magneto.  Think Dr. Doom but with evil mutant sidekicks.  Magneto is belligerent and very self important.  The Brotherhood aren't allies.  They're minions.  Mastermind and Toad serve him for unknown reasons (Toad always seems to be looking for approval. I'm betting Mastermind is there because he'd rather not stand against the mutant Master of Magnetism).  The Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver serve Magneto for very clear reasons.  Magnus saved Wanda's life when the local villagers realized she was a mutant.  Because of this, the mutant twins owe Magneto a blood debt and serve him not because they agree with his cause but because they need that debt to be paid.

Magneto has it in his mind to force the Sub-Mariner to obey him and chooses a bunch of high tech guns to get the job done.  Before he even leaves the armory, he sees an image of Cyclops standing before him and wastes no time using those guns to kill the X-Man.  Since Cyke isn't even in the area, we can easily figure out that Mastermind created that illusion.  Now, the rest of the Brotherhood has to dodge that shot which seems to be in line with all of them.  Quicksilver rescues his sister just in time and Magnus punishes Mastermind for starting the whole thing.  Magneto sets his mind on finding the Atlantean Prince, but instead of heading off loaded for battle, he uses his psi-powers to go astral form.  Yes, Mags has psi-powers second only to Xavier in the early issues of the X-Men.

Back at the X-Mansion, Xavier leaves the X-Men to their Danger Room training to do some astral form searching of his own.  Searching the sea bottom, Xavier senses the presence of someone but it's not Namor.  It's Magneto.  Even though Professor X could best the Master of Magnetism in a psi battle, he chooses to escape and fight another day.  This allows Magneto to find Namor first.

Namor is in a rage because Sue Storm doesn't love him.  The Sub-Mariner is all about the love and he'll get none of it.  He's throwing a tantrum in his castle, hurling huge statues around the place like they were nothing.  Namor's got some loyal Atlanteans still following him but he shoos them out of his presence while he explodes in fury.

Magnus uses the moment to find the most shady servant and give him a message.  He wishes to draw Namor away from his castle and ally with him.  While the Sub-Mariner's gone, it would be easy for a shady servant to capitalize on the absence and get powers for himself.  All he needs to do is give Namor Magneto's summons.

Meanwhile, Xavier has been busy trying to locate Magneto's secret island base.  This is made easier by reports made by sea vessels claiming that their compasses went out of wack in a certain segment of ocean.  There's one report made that they saw a wierd magnetic device built up on some uncharted island.  It looks like Magneto sucks and maintaining a secret base.  The X-Men pick up a wooden sailing vessel and head off to investigate.

Even though they know the general area, this isn't going to be a walk in the park.  The X-Men's initial attempts at finding the island fail.  At least it gives some of the X-Men a chance to practice their powers.  Still, Xavier is determined to find his foe.

In the meantime, let's skip back under the sea for a fateful meeting between Namor and that shady servant of his.  The servant is busy dressing Namor in regal attire and lets slip that Namor might be a mutant and that Magneto would make a fine ally against the rest of the surface world.  Namor is starting to notice his success rate when it comes to Super Villain Team-Ups but still boards his undersea racer to go find Magnus.

It doesn't take long for Namor to find Magneto's island.  Magnus and the Sub-Mariner don't start off on the right foot, because Namor is sort of super arrogant and Magneto thinks he's good at manipulating people.  Before Subby will even address Magneto, he decides to make a tour of the island.  Magnus realizes he'll need whatever he can offer to get Namor to join the Brotherhood and sends Scarlet Witch off to win Namor's heart.  Wanda is quickly pulled in by the Atlantean Prince's bearing and the fact that he's just wearing swimming trunks.  She reaches out to get his attention and accidentally sends out a hex bolt.

Which is common for Wanda.  Unlike the X-Men, the Brotherhood don't actually train in the use of their powers.  Since the Scarlet Witch's powers continue to be random to this day, she's got the worst control ever.  Her hex bolt hits the machinery Namor was examining and causes a lot of electrical shorting.  Namor doesn't waste any time.  He starts pulling out wires until the short stops. 

This impresses Wanda and Magneto but the others don't really see much use in this alliance.  No matter, Angel's about to force their hand.  He flies in and starts swatting Brotherhood members around.  Magneto reacts quickly, throwing magnetized boulders up at the flying X-Man.  Because Angel's well trained, he easily avoids them.  That means it's up to the Sub-Mariner.  Hitting the skies, Namor grabs hold of the winged one and sends him straight back to the rest of the X-Men.

The X-Men recover the Angel but their problems are just beginning.  Magneto uses a big magnet generator thing he's had built on his island to send a concentrated blast of electromagnetism straight at the X-Men's sailing vessel.  Even though the boat is made of wood, it's still got bits and pieces made of metal holding it together.  Under the concentrated blast, it has no chance at all.  The X-Men are left in the open water but, thanks to the help of Iceman, they're quickly rising above it on an ice platform.

Once they reach Magneto's island, they find it surrounded by thorny spine roots.  Xavier knows that this is a manipulation from Mastermind and orders his X-Men to walk through it.  Since they love Prof X, they do.  That just leads them straight into combat with the Brotherhood.

Their first opponent is Quicksilver, but Pietro attacks them with no back-up and is defeated by the combined powers of the X-Men.  Wanda begs Magneto to do something about her brother's capture but Magnus is already thinking about that.  He's about to focus the full force of his super magnet weapon on them.  This isn't what Wanda had in mind.  She knows that the blast will injure (or kill) her brother as well.  Magneto demands that she shut up and let him get on to the business of super villainy.

Which is about the time he loses his ally.  Namor sees how he's treating the Scarlet Witch and he doesn't like it.  Not one bit.  He formally cancels his alliance with the Master of Magnetism.  With that, Magnus completely forgets about the X-Men and focuses his rage on the Sub-Mariner.  Her strikes out with any non-essential metal just in the area, covering the Avenging Son in metal bits that Namor has trouble removing. 

The X-Men haven't been wasting time during this exchange.  They've used it to locate the Brotherhood and, when they find them, they attack, throwing the villains in disarray.  Magneto rushes off at the first sign of danger.  Mastermind sends out a vision of heavy fog to cover his and Toad's retreat.  They race off after Magneto.  Wanda doesn't follow them because she's too worried about the fate of her brother to do any escaping.  After one last call to follow him, Magneto abandons her to whatever fate she'll get with the X-Men.

 That just leaves Namor and Wanda to fight it out with the X-Men.  Since Magneto's attention is elsewhere those magnetized bits of metal surrounding Namor fall to the floor, and the Sub-Mariner gets right to the task of defending Wanda.  After a page or two of battle, Xavier trots out a mind controlled Quicksilver. 

Xavier promises to let Pietro go.  He's not the real threat, after all.  It's not Namor, either.  They should all be focusing their attention on Magneto.  Namor doesn't like to think of himself as a second fiddle to anyone and nearly renews the battle with the X-Men.

With Quicksilver freed, Namor sees no reason to hang about.  He remembers just why he should never team-up with anyone one ever again and starts his walk back to the open ocean.  The X-Men let him go.

Magneto?  Not so much.  He tries one last attack using his super magnet weapon.  Instead of turning it on the X-Men, he fires the concentrated magnetic blast straight at his former ally.  The attack pins Namor to the ground but doesn't put him out of action just yet.  In one last, desperate manuever, Namor pounds his fists into the ground.  The shockwaves reach up and destroy Magneto's weapon, thereby ending the attack.  With that, Namor returns to the ocean unimpeded.

Magento and his Brotherhood make a hasty retreat, being joined before departure by the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver.  Xavier let them go.  He wants them as allies and taking them now would  not help in that matter.  Now, the X-Men just need to find another boat to make their own leave of this island.

Woo!  And we're done for now!

Until next time: Who Do YOU Trust?

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About the Author - SuperginraiX

SuperginraiX is the biggest sap on The Outhousers' payroll (wait, we get paid?). He reads every issue of every crappy Marvel crossover so you don't have to. Whats worse is that he pays for his books, thus condoning Marvel's behavior. If The Outhouse cared for his well being at all, they'd try and get him into some sort of rehab center. But, alas, none of us even know how to say his name. For a good time, ask Super why Captian America jumped off the Helicarrier in Fear Itself. Super lives in the frozen wastland that is Minnesota with 15% of the state's population living under his roof: a wife he makes wear an Optimus Prime mask, two gremlins, and his mother-in-law.


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