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Super Reads Siege & Realm of Kings 8

Written by SuperginraiX on Tuesday, May 11 2010 and posted in Features

More Siege action!

Today, we check out New Avengers #62, Avengers: The Initiative #33, Thunderbolts #141, Thor #607, Dark Wolverine #83, Realm of Kings: Inhumans #4, and Blast to the Past for Fantastic Four #33. Enjoy and spread the word!

Spoilers Ahead!

Today, we're Siegin' between the lines.

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.

Ready, steady, go.

na62.jpgThe New Avengers #62
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Stuart Immonen & Daniel Acuña

Last issue, the Hood powered up his people for their mission to seek out the New Avengers and gave them an added bonus: they can now track the New Avengers through their powers. Steve and Bucky surveyed the sight of their last base which also happened to be Steve Rogers' home. It was rubble at this point and guarded by HAMMER agents. The two heroes were attacked by the Living Laser and the Corruptor (who put Bucky under mind control). Spider-Man and Woman were keeping an eye on Avengers Tower while discussing the Dark Reign, why it sucks, and how it'll all blow up in Ozzy's face. Steve raided his own home and beat up a few federal agents while recovering his old energy shield. Mandrill and the Griffon located Spider-Man and Spider-Woman and got their fight on. Bucky Cap was forced to shoot at Steve while the Corruptor got pictures. The bullet did some crazy ricocheting around the room after bouncing off Roger's shield and hit the Corruptor in the neck. The Living Laser decided to stop messing around and just start killing. Griffin threw Spider-Man all over the place while his partner, Mandrill, fought Spider-Woman. Jessica Drew became the victim of another mind control ploy on the part of the Mandrill and was ordered to blast Peter Parker out of the sky. With that done, Mandrill's next demand was the location of the rest of the Avengers.

In this issue, Spider-Man saves himself and is again attacked by Spider-Woman. A couple HAMMER Agents are ducking out of the way of the duo-Caps' fight with the Living Laser when they are taken out by a combination of killing lasers and Luke Cage's good left hook. Cap, Cap, and Luke finish the fight with the Living Laser, have a little reunion, and then face down the laser scope of Nick Fury. The Spidey-People fake Griffin and Mandrill out and beat the hell out of them, Peter stopping Jessica from taking things a little too far. Nick and his Secret Warriors meet Steve Rogers for the first time and everyone fights HAMMER Agents. The good guys escape and rendezvous at the Avengers Safehouse in Brooklyn where they meet up with the rest of the New Avengers. After Steve sees the Siege going down on television, he tells everyone to gather every ally they can. It's time to end this whole Dark Reign thing.

Spider-Man is falling to his death!

Oh, yeah. Webs. Forgot about them. So, Spidey stops his fatal descent and feels really bad about losing a fight to Mandrill and the Griffon. Seriously. The Mandrill and the Griffon are beating Spider-Man and Spider-Woman. Now, granted, the Hood has super-charged his whole gang but Peter isn't aware of that. All he knows is that Mandrill sicced Spider-Woman on him and things have been going south ever since. Oh, here comes Spider-Woman for round two.

Which is only a little odd since last issue ended with the Mandrill pumping Jessica for information. She was going to reveal the Avengers' secret hiding place. Now, she's back to beating up Spider-Man. While the Spider-People fight, Mandrill and Griffon just watch the action. If this seems like a repeat of the Corruptor and Living Laser's battle with the Caps last issue, it sort of is. Both involved mind control and both had the villains send the mind controlled good guy after the non-mind controlled good guy while the two villains watched.

Spider-Man isn't about to hit his teammate around until he knows what the score is. Did Jessica just go insane or is something else at work here? Since no one seems to remember that the Mandrill can control women, it's no wonder that Spidey doesn't know what's up. Since he isn't fighting back, the villains whoop it up every time he takes a hit. This is entertainment at it's finest.

Back at the rubble that formerly comprised Steve Roger's home, another super battle is in full swing. This one involves the two Captain Americas facing off against the Corruptor and the Living Laser. At this point, the Corruptor is out of commission but Living Laser has enough firepower to end this fight without a super-villain team-up. Steve's place was being guarded by HAMMER Agents so it's no wonder that two such Agents are on the scene hiding behind an upturned HUMMER. They've already contacted the rest of HAMMER to tell them what's going down and now they're just waiting for back up.

Well, they're arguing more than waiting. HAMMER Agent "A" really wants to go in and try to arrest some people while HAMMER Agent "2" wants to let this super fight play out without getting killed. Seriously. Two Captain Americas and a Living Laser. This is not for two regular Agents of HAMMER to decide. Poor Agent "2" rises to his feet to look over the HUMMER, mocks Agent "A" for thinking the two of them could make any difference in this fight, and gets his head blown off by the Laser. Agent "A" watches as his comrade's neck fizzles, turns to look back on the fight, and gets smacked in the face by Luke Cage.

Steve Rogers and James Barnes are standing side-by-side facing down the Living Laser. Rogers is using that cool energy shield he had back during Mark Waid and Andy Kubert's run on the title post-Heroes Return. It proves just as effective in deflecting the Laser's blasts as the classic, old-school shield being carried by current Captain America, James "Bucky" Barnes. Living Laser isn't really thinking about surrendering but Steve gives him the option anyway.

Since he doesn't surrender, he gets hit from behind by Luke Cage. Laser fires back at the former Power Man but the blast only burns up his shirt. Impenetrable skin has it's perks. Bucky Cap drops a live electical wire into the Living Laser and the villain explodes. This obviously isn't the last time we'll see the Laser but it ends this fight at least.

Only after the battle is over does Luke Cage realize that Captain America is hanging out with a very alive Steve Rogers. Apparently, Luke wasn't aware that Steve was alive even though he had already met him post-Cap Reborn over in New Avengers Annual #3. This wouldn't be so troublesome except for the fact that BRIAN BENDIS WROTE NEW AVENGERS ANNUAL #3. He already had the entire team have that surprised look in their eyes when they found out Steve was alive and now he's going to do it all over again. One of the biggest problems I have in Bendis books is that they don't even follow the continuity of other Bendis books, let alone other established Marvel Continuity.

Maybe Bendis has a team of writers writing in his style and he has his name attached to the comic. That's how it seems sometimes.

Anyway, Luke and Steve man hug before Luke finds what he came her for in the first place: his baby's binky. It was her favorite and I'm sure it'll be just fine when it's washed off. Before Luke gets back up, he notices a laser dot on Steve's chest. No, it's not the Living Laser coming back for round two. It's Nick Fury. One of the few people who actually hasn't seen Cap since his rebirth.

The Spider-People are still fighting it out across town. Well, Spider-Woman is fighting. Spider-Man is dodging and trying to figure out how to break Jessica out of her mind controlled state. It turns out that after fighting for a while, Jessica starts breaking out of it on her own. She can now do some talking but she's still hitting Spidey with her bio-blasts. As Peter recovers, Drew grabs him by the throat, telling him she has no control. Spider-Man tells her that she can fight it and that he has a plan.

The villains watch as Spider-Woman fires on Spider-Man at point blank range and the hero drops to the roof. He's not moving. Griffin and Mandrill congratulate themselves on a job well done and then move in closer to give Jessica some more commands. Before Mandrill can tell Spider-Woman what to do, he gets a mouthful of webbing. Ol' Spidey was playing possum.

From there, it's a major beatdown for the two villains as the Spider-Duo rallies. Spider-Woman doesn't appreciate the way Mandrill controlled her and keeps on beating him until Peter stops her. Instead of calling the cops in, Spidey suggests they call up the press. That way these guys get publicly arrested and maybe they spend more time in jail than the night it would take for Osborn's men to free them. This isn't the greatest victory ever but it's the best they've got.

Back in Brooklyn, Nick says a series of words that would shut Steve down if he were just another LMD. Since he's not an LMD, he keeps going. Steve tells Fury to come with him and he'll explain the whole long, boring story of his return to the land of the living. Nick stops aiming his killer sniper rifle but calls in the rest of his team. Hey kids! It's the Secret Warriors!

Before this touching reunion can go any further, those HAMMER reinforcements that were called in earlier arrive. Big action scene, people!

When Steve, Bucky, Cage, Nick and the Secret Warriors arrive at the Avengers Safehouse after their fight, the only one that seems to remember that Steve is alive is Clint Barton. That's because Clint helped Cap take down a giant sized Red Skull in Captain America Reborn #6. Apparently, Bendis can't acknowledge his own continuity but he gets this minor detail right. You'd think he would have told the rest of his team about it but they all seem stunned. Ms. Marvel especially so.

Cap whispers a secret to her that confirms his identity to Danvers. We can all make our guesses as to what that secret is. My bet? Carol was Steve's spy in the Initiative. In the pages of Ms. Marvel, Cap met with Carol prior to Civil War going down. I'm betting he told her to join Stark's side so that he's have someone on the inside. When Cap died, she had no-one who knew that she was really on the Anti-Initiative side. Still, she worked so hard to keep the peace between the two Avengers teams that it's easy to see this as a possibility. If that isn't it, it'll be interesting to hear what it IS. Whatever it is, Carol is extremely happy to see Steve Rogers alive again.

With all those reunions out of the way, Cap turns his attention to the television.

Yeah, this isn't at all how this played out in Siege #1, another Bendis book. Steve was watching television in his Cap suit in that issue. He also appeared to be alone. These are minor continuity blunders but it's like the editor is asleep at the wheel here. Sure, some of the blame has to go with the scripts that don't match up to one another but that's why the world has editors. To fix spelling errors and gaps in continuity.

So, Thor has been beaten.

It looks like the reason the Dark Avengers didn't show up to apprehend Steve, Cap, and Luke was that they weren't even in the state. They were Siegin' it up already.

Spider-Woman and Spider-Man fly and swing in ready to tell everyone about the adventure they just had but when they see Steve Rogers alive and well, they also forget that they already knew that information and figure his story is probably better than theirs. Steve tells Nick and James to gather the troops. It's time for them to get this Dark Reign good and ended.

Avengers Assemble.

ati33.jpgAvengers: The Initiative #33
Writer: Christos N. Gage
Penciler: Jorge Molina

Last issue, Taskmaster gave us the quick version of his Secret Origin leading right up to recent events before giving us a look at just what he was up to at the moment: staring down an angry thunder god. We cut back a few hours to watch the various Initiative and Dark Avenger members aboard the HAMMER Helicarrier flying to Oklahoma for the big throwdown with Asgard. Diamond Back and Constrictor had a little talk about what they should do during the battle and about their relationship. Constrictor switched partners and had a heart-to-heart with Taskmaster next. We cut right to the Siege of Asgard as Taskmaster found himself way over his head before watching one of the Initiative members get killed off after panicking. After that, it was all business. At Avengers Resistance HQ, the Resistance members ware boldly watching the Siege on the bold television set. They knew that the whole event was staged to bring about the Siege and decided to break into Camp HAMMER to get as much evidence on Ozzy as they possibly can. Our Initiative Members watched as Thor entered the battle and was quickly knocked away by the Sentry. Osborn ordered all the heavy hitters down front to finish the Asgardian off but Taskmaster and Diamondback joined in as well for their own reasons. They were right there to get their picture on television while looming over Thor's unconscious form.

In this issue, Night Thrasher remembers his older half-brother. The Avengers Resistance fights the Syndicate at Camp HAMMER. Norman chews out Taskmaster for showing up at the fall of Thor. Taskmaster rejoins the Siege of Asgard and fight Hogun. Maria Hill rescues the god of thunder. Diamondback is "rescued" by Constrictor. Ares is killed by the Sentry. Taskmaster notices the New Avengers and company showing up and gives Norman the heads-up. The Hood comes shooting in the defense of Camp HAMMER. Robby Baldwin finds himself facing off against two HAMMER Agents who want him to stay put. Tigra attacks the Hood. Parker gives Night Thrasher the choice of killing Tigra and restoring his brother to life or never seeing his brother alive again.

In the long ago times, the Donyell Taylor was known as Bandit and he had issues with his brother, Dwayne Taylor, who we all know and love as the original Night Thrasher. Donny ended up stealing Dwayne's girlfriend and never missed a chance to punch Dwayne around. Donyell was jealous or what his half brother had with their father and maybe he had an issue or two to work through. Eventually, the two made up and became best brothers. Later on, the original Night Thrasher died in Stamford with several New Warriors in the incident that would ignite the Super Hero Civil War.

So Donyell put on a Night Thrasher uniform and fought against the man, actively opposing the Initiative by leading a brand new New Warriors team into battle. Donyell kept too many secrets for no good reason and obviously still had some issues to deal with. Now, he's found a place in the Avengers Resistance, fighting against Norman Osborn's Dark Reign. He also still has some issues.

This time around, Donny's been promised the rebirth of his dead brother. All he has to do is betray his allies and the Hood will resupply Dwayne Taylor's soul to a brand new clone body. Donyell has come to his brother's grave to reason this decision out. If he betrays the Avengers Resistance, then he gets his brother back but they probably don't get to be very close considering all the traitor business involved in returning Dwayne to life. If he stays loyal, he doesn't ever get to see his brother alive again. I mean, it's not like any of the other New Warriors have risen from the grave recently in the pages of Nova. No siree.

The current Night Thrasher hasn't made a decision yet but he'll probably be forced to do so very soon. The Avengers Resistance is currently raiding Camp HAMMER in a bid to get all the dirt on Norman Osborn as they can. This will inevitably lead to a confrontation with the Hood.

Hey, there's the Hood right now. He's in his office at Camp HAMMER and he's giving some orders off to Razorfist, the only hood in his Syndicate who can never salute him for fear of slicing off the top of his head. Parker wants only his own men attacking the Avengers Resistance. People like Penance, for example, need to stay well out of it. Heck, since Penance has a nice connection to many of these New Warriors, Robbie is to be kept under armed guard as an extra incentive to stay put. The Hood is pretty certain that Night Thrasher will betray his friends for the life of his brother but time will tell.

In Broxton, Oklahoma, the Siege is in progress. Thor has recently fallen and Taskmaster is proudly standing over the unconscious hero. This is not where he's supposed to be. Iron Patriot yells at Tasky for not knowing his place and not really helping in Thor's takedown. Since Taskmaster now sits at the big table with the rest of the Cabal, this whole shouting match is basically telling Taskmaster that he'll never be a threat to Norman. He's just a flunky sitting in on the Cabal as a yesman. Osborn tells Taskmaster to get back to Asgard where he can do some good and leave taking down thunder gods to the big guns. Taskmaster jumps on his goblin glider and heads back to the battle, suitably cowed.

You might remember that Taskmaster wasn't the only low-powered combatant to join the fight against Thor against orders. Diamondback did the same thing but for entirely different reasons. Diamondback is a double agent, secretly working for the Avengers Resistance. She came down to help Thor but just ended up looking like an accomplice. When she tries to return to the battle, Norman tells her to stay put.

Taskmaster isn't happy about getting chewed out by Norman Osborn. He's more convinced than ever that he made the wrong move when he joined the Cabal. It turns out it wasn't a step up in his career. It's just a chance to butt heads with Norman in every issue. He's really got to watch himself around the big cheese or he'll end up assassinated. All this runs through his mind as he faces down Fandral and Hogun. These two Asgardians really get around this battlefield. It's like they're in every fight scene.

Back with Norman Osborn and a fallen Thor, we find Diamondback wondering why the hell Osborn wanted her to remain. Part of her thinks she's been kept here because her association with Captain America adds a level of legitimacy to Osborn's actions. Most of her knows that she's probably going to be killed regardless of any other reason why Norman wanted her down here. That means she's got no reason not to act. Any move will be in her best interest.

When she sees Maria Hill coming up in a pickup truck (yes, it's depicted looking much less old school than the one that appeared in Siege #2), she throws some of her explosive diamonds into the mix to give Maria's rockets an extra kick. Just after tossing them in, she's pulled out of the battle by Constrictor. Iron Patriot, Ms. Marvel, and the U-Foes take the full force of that explosion and are sent flying.

The rest of Thor's rescue plays out just as it did in Siege #2. We see it happening in the backgrounds as Constrictor and Diamondback have a lover's spat over his serious overprotective issues. He needs to stop treating her like she'll break. She was, after all, trained by Captain America. Unfortunately, Diamondback is feeling pretty guilty about her relationship with Constrictor. She knows she got involved with him for less than ideal reasons. She's not even sure if she actually likes him. He knows all of this and is reacting to it the only way he knows how. He's happy to see that, after Thor makes his escape, Norman and his cronies never realize that Maria Hill had a little help from Diamondback.

While he's exclaiming his relief over that, he turns around and watches as Ares attacks Norman. This battle is getting crazy and Constrictor's playcard is no longer accurate. The fight between Ares and Sentry plays out more quickly in this issue than it did over in Siege #2 but the results are the same. Ares is torn apart by the Sentry. Constrictor and Diamondback watch it happen and they aren't filled with joy.

On the plus side, Taskmaster is able to run off from his battle against Fandral and Hogun while the duo pause to watch the passing of the Greek god of war.

Tasky flies off on his goblin glider and overhears Norman talking about sending Sentry into Broxton in a search for Thor. This doesn't exactly sit well with Taskmaster. We've all seen how off Sentry is. This isn't the golden guardian of good and most everyone realizes that by now. Constrictor even noted that Sentry's eyes are blackened. Taskmaster tries to think of a way to manipulate Norman into turning his attention back to the battle for Asgard.

Just then, the Avengers show up and give Taskmaster the distraction he needs. He tells Norman to turn around and we get another shot of Cap's shield flying at Osborn. We also get a shot of Diamondback. She's another hero who hadn't realized that Steve Rogers was back. Since she's one of his exes, she's got a unique reaction going on. Taskmaster just prepares for the fight.

At Camp HAMMER, the Avengers Resistance is mowing through the Hood's gang of thugs as well as the HAMMER Agents stationed there. They've pretty much shut down HAMMER's defensive capabilities by the time we return to this fight. Night Thrasher is remarking on all of this but still isn't sure if he likes how this is going down.

Just then, the Hood shows up and it looks like Night Thrasher will be forced to make his decision very, very soon. The Hood has recently gone through a power change and since his last defeat at the hands of the New Avengers was very public, he wants to assure Night Thrasher that he still has the power to restore Dwayne Turner to life. To that end, he starts attacking the Resistance with his magic bullet powers.

Remember how Penance is being kept out of this battle? Sure you do. We take a quick trip over to see how his lock down is going. There are two HAMMER Agents present with their guns pointed at Robbie. They really don't want him involved in this battle. Their weapons are loaded with SPIN tech. One shot will remove Penance's powers. At this point, Robbie is back to remembering all the horrible things that have happened recently. He's no longer crazy, either. He stayed with the Initiative but there's no telling what he'll do next. I mean, unless you know how these stories usually go. Then you know he's going to break free of HAMMER control and help his friends. But don't spoil that for anyone. That doesn't happen until next issue, probably.

The Hood's magic bullets easily knock down most of the Avengers Resistance but there's one Avenger in particular left standing. Tigra. She's pissed. The Hood beat her within an inch of her life in the aftermath of the Civil War and she's been bringing her brand of payback to individual members of the Hood's crew for months now. There's nothing better than getting the chance to really square her debt and attack the guy actually responsible.

The Hood escapes her first attack but isn't able to shoot her out of the fight. That means it's decision time for Donyell. In order for his brother to live, he has to kill Tigra!

tb141.jpgThunderbolts #141
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Miguel Sepulveda

Last issue, the T-Bolts rallied nicely as the Agents started panicking. Just when the Thunderbolts were about to pull a win, Venus noticed Bob's unconscious form and started singing away... this time not a song of love but the opposite of it. They each lived out their worst nightmares. With everyone facing Venus's song, the Ghost swooped in and took M-11 out of the fight. Venus learned that Bob wasn't hurt at all. He was just stuck in Scourge's mind. Since the Agents needed to leave and get healed from that poison gas, they bolted but not before placing a mental image in Scourge's head to make him try and assassinate Norman Osborn when next they met. The Ghost hitched a ride on the Agents' saucer and then headed out to his guest appearance in The Invincible Iron Man. The Thunderbolts returned to the Cube and got their new mission from a holographic image of Norman Osborn. Scourge saw the image and fired at it... hitting the Headsman with his shot.

In this issue, the Thunderbolts take off for their mission in Asgard and get another prerecorded message from Norman Osborn. He tells them that their mission isn't to join his forces directly but, instead, to retrieve the Spear of Odin from the Asgardians Armory. The Ghost finds himself teleported inside of Asgard following his battle with Tony Stark. After reading his emails and checking his messages, he learns that Norman Osborn has sent his team to capture the Spear of Odin and decides to seek out an appropriate counterforce to prevent that from happening. To that end: The Mighty Avengers. The rest of the T-Bolts arrive in Asgard and are shot out of the sky by Hogun and his mighty arrow. The team parachutes down, argues a bit, and finally enter the Asgardian Armory. After a little searching, they locate the Spear but are interrupted by an Asgardian. After Mister X kills the poor minor diety, the T-Bolts are attacked by the Mighty Avengers.

Last issue, Scourge killed the Headsman. It was a headshot. There's little that lets you come back from a headshot and the point blank range didn't help matters. This issue everyone moves on. These guys aren't friends. They're here for one reason and one reason only. Money. Scads of it.

This doesn't mean that there are hurt feelings about it. Ant-Man was just starting to bond with Headsman, after all. O'Grady takes Cleavon's death harder than the rest. The other T-Bolts are more nervous about the possibility of that only being the first victim of Scourge's friendly fire. Heck, they haven't even been able to report Headsman's death to Director Osborn.

The team boards the Zeus and prepares for another briefing with Norman. This is another prerecorded message. Someone must have had a look at Scourge between issues because the mad team leader isn't killing the video screen. Osborn tells them how awesome they are. After all, they've got a near zero success rate going for them. That's pretty damn impressive.

Still, he's building them up for a Mission: Impossible style assignment. They're to fly over to Asgard and instead of joining up with the rest of his ground forces, they're going to infiltrate the Asgardian Armory and steal the Spear of Odin. This is one of the super weapons employed by Asgard but, unlike Thor's hammer, it has no enchantments placed on it to prevent it's use by unsavory types. The only thing keeping the other Asgardians from using it is their reverence for the fallen All-Father. Norman, of course, has no compunctions about using the Spear to kill as many Asgardians as he can.

Norman ends his prerecorded teleconference with words of praise for all of the Thunderbolts, including the two who aren't on this mission. The Headsman is dead and the Ghost is off trying to kill Tony Stark. O'Grady remarks that they're heading off for a mission without two people that might be key to it's success. It's an awesome day to be on the T-Bolts.

Now, it's debatable what help Headsman would actually be but Ghost's help would be useful. Right now, he's finishing up his latest defeat at the hands of Stark and finds himself teleported over to nearby Asgard. At first, he thinks he might be dead and somehow made his way to heaven but after checking his email and listening to his voice mail, he's realizes that he's still alive and in a very wierd place. Engaging cloak mode, he watches as a viking god races past him. Hey, it's Asgard.

Ghost has no reason to place the Spear of Odin in the greedy palms of Stormin' Norman and decides that he should call in some people to help him stop the T-Bolts from succeeding. He avoids anyone connected to the government out of concern that HAMMER would pick up his signal and block it. Iron Man is wise to him and has already blocked him off. The Baxter Building is unreachable. The X-Men are off the grid for unknown reasons (probably Second Coming related). Finally, he finds a willing reciever. Amadeus Cho of the Mighty Avengers.

For some reason, Cho has cannibalized a Gameboy and turned it into his portable computer of choice. Not a Gameboy Color, a Gameboy Advance, or a sleek new DS. An old school, circa 1989 Gameboy. Black and White screen. No back light. You had to glance light off the thing just right to see anything on the monitor. Those things probably wouldn't be my first choice as a base computer. Still, Cho is a genius and has modded the hell out of his Gameboy. It's still black and white but the screen projects out of the monitor and goes wide screen in mid air.

Cho gets the message that the T-Bolts are going to make a play for the Spear of Odin and tries to get in contact with his fellow Avengers. Unfortunately, no one is picking up his call. He's not even trying for Hank Pym and there's a good reason for that. Just wait a week or so and we'll get to the falling out of the Mighty Avengers. The team isn't exactly together anymore. Eventually, Amadeus gets a hold of USAgent which is interesting because John Walker was taken off the team by Norman Osborn in Mighty Avengers #33. That doesn't stop him from showing up in a borrowed harrier jet. He and Amadeus start their flight to Broxton.

The Thunderbolts have just arrived there and are already in the thick of things. Hogun (like I said, those Warriors Three sure do get around) has noticed their jet and is preparing to fire an arrow on them. That's right. An arrow. Scourge takes this threat as seriously as I would. After all, it's a frickin' arrow. Only Paladin realizes the danger and gets everyone to evacuate the jet before it expodes from the arrow's impact.

That's one hell of a divine arrow.

All of the Thunderbolts parachute out safely. Only the poor pilot went down with the Zeus. Once they've made touchdown, the Thunderbolts find Asgard eerily calm. The fighting is happening outside the city and the area near the Armory is vacated. Now, you'd think something like an armory would be protected as supply lines brought fresh battle equipment to the front lines but that's not the case here. This part of Asgard is as peaceful as a ghost town.

Before the T-Bolts get inside the armory, Scourge is going to try and reassert his control over his team. Scourge isn't happy that Paladin went against his orders and got everyone off the Zeus. That wasn't Paladin's call and even though Scourge's decision would have lead to them all dying in a fiery explosion, that's the kind of decision leaders have to make. This insubordination will not stand. That even sets Mister X off and those two usually side with each other since they're the "evil" members of the Thunderbolts crew. Scourge, who is completely mentally unstable, pulls his weapon on Mister X. They might actually fight each other except Grizzly shouts out how he's found the Armory and that turns both their attentions back towards their mission.

The Thunderbolts enter the Armory and find it well stocked with assorted medieval weaponry.

For Mister X, this place is loaded with some of the greatest weapons he could ever hope for. He wants another jet shipped in just so he can raid this entire armory. Scourge is more of the gun type and the two share vicious quips about their different preferences with weapons.

Grizzly notices a special mark on another set of door and recognizes it from their briefing. This must be where the Spear is being kept. Ant-Man shrinks down to pick the lock and Grizzly opens the door to reveal a treasure room. For this group, coming upon the treasure room of the gods is their personal heaven. They all imagine what they could do with this money before Scourge, again, pulls out his gun and tries to strong arm them into moving on and finding the Spear.

When Paladin makes it clear that he's in it for the money, Scourge opens fire at his feet. Man, that dude is at everyone's throat this issue. As a team leader, he's much less than inspirational. There's more shouting before they do move on and locate a nicely crafted box that might contain the Spear of Odin.

It takes more than just Grizzly to remove the box's lid but when they get it off they do, indeed, find the Spear they've been looking for. None of the Thunderbolts really get that this weapon is super powerful. They just think it's an awesome looking spear. Their opinion isn't about to change this issue. They're about to be suitably distracted.

One of the Asgardians has finally entered the armory and found it crawling with mortals. Mister X meets him in combat and after being swatted around, uses his light telepathy to get the better of the Asgardian and stab him through the neck with X's knife. If I'm correct, that's the knife he stole from Headsman. If I'm not... well, it's not an important detail.

Mister X is all excited about downing himself a god. That's something you probably put on your resume. Ant-Man and Paladin are less than thrilled. They weren't here to kill anyone. They thought this was just going to be a simple retrieval. In a war zone. You know, peaceful!

They aren't about to get peace any time soon. Before they can go back and grab the Spear of Odin, they are confronted by Stature, Vision, USAgent and Amadeus Cho. The Mighty Avengers are here!

t607.jpgThor #607
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artists: Billy Tan & Rich Elson

In this Siegin' issue, the Asgardians discuss the Chicago Incident involving Volstagg ten hours before the onset of Siege. Knut prophecies the fall of Asgard and the death of a god of war. Loki takes Knut to his bed and kills him. Heimdall finds that his bed chambers have been moved well below Asgard so that his warnings won't reach the the Asgardians in time. Kelda tells her dead boyfriend's parent about his death. Heimdall finally breaks his way to the surface too late to warn anyone of Norman Osborn's Siege of Asgard. The god of battle, Tyr, breaks into Knut's chambers and finds Knut dead. Volstagg is in the local Broxton jail after turning himself in but he's anxious to learn what's going on in Asgard. When the police officers see Thor fall on national television, they decide that word has to go out that Volstagg didn't mean to do what he did. They let V use the internet to get his story out to the people. That gets the press buzzing and support for Osborn's police action to weaken. Ragnarok rolls into town, finds Volstagg, and starts dealing out some justice.

So the Siege is already half way done and we haven't really had the Asgardian side weigh in that deeply. That's about to change. This Thor comic is going to show us the Siege from an Asgardian perspective.

You may remember that Volstagg sort of kicked off this whole Siege thing by unwittingly killing a stadium full of people in Chicago. Yes, he was a patsy. We know that. Norman Osborn knows that. The rest of the world doesn't know that. Some just suspect it. Since the tragic Chicago Incident, Volstagg has been travelling cross-country with Ben Urich and Will Stern in an attempt to return to Broxton, Oklahoma and turn himself into police custody. We got to see part of that in Siege: Embedded #'s 1 & 2 but this issue shows that Volstagg completed that task off-panel. He's in police custody right now.

Volstagg is a member of the Warriors Three. You've seen the other two, Fandral and Hogun, all over the place in other Siege tie-in issues. What you might not know is that Fandral and Hogun don't live in Asgard anymore. They have chosen to join Thor in exile. Since it's a choice, both are able to come and go from Asgard as they please. They've visited Volstagg in his cell and are now reporting everything back to the king of Asgard, Balder.

Asgard is probably the only place in the Marvel Universe that doesn't have a television set so the only way news travels is by word of mouth. This is why, the night before the Siege, Balder is learning about the Soldier Field tragedy for the first time. The god of battle, Tyr, is the first to mention anything about Volstagg being set up. Tyr doesn't think that highly of Volstagg in the first place and hearing that he's held responsible for hundreds of deaths is a ridiculous notion to him. Of course, HAMMER is suspect and the two members of the Warriors Three present explain that Volstagg avoided HAMMER and turned himself over to the Broxton Police specifically because of his lack of trust in Norman Osborn.

Balder is happy to hear Volstagg's decision to turn himself in to the local authorities. He makes plans to send what aid Asgard can muster to cool tempers in Chicago. Balder understands how something like this could burn out of control and wants to help out and calm down the mortals before something crazy like a Siege happens.

This meeting is happening during one of those great kingly feasts that happens all the time in Asgard. Don't ask where the food comes from. I imagine with the treasures available in Asgard they could probably afford some nice, kingly meals. Balder asks Fandral and Hogun to remain in Asgard for the night and enjoy a nice meal before returning to Thor.

The seer, Knut, interrupts his king to reveal a nice little prophesy about the destruction of Asgard. He basically reveals that Asgard is going to fall tomorrow. Knut apparently has lots of false visions but he's pretty certain this one is accurate. He has even learned that he'll die before the sun rises. Tyr tells Knut to sit down and stop disturbing everyone's delicious meal. Heimdall, Asgard's eternally vigilant watchman, lets everyone know that he sees no threat coming for Asgard. He would know. He can see all those threats as long as he's looking at them. Don't mention that Loki once snuck past him by taking the form of a snake. It just pisses him off.

Knut keeps on telling people the future. Tomorrow, Heimdall will fail at his duty. He tells Tyr that the god of war will die. DIE! This is obviously referring to the GREEK god, Ares, but his job is close enough that it COULD apply to Tyr, the Asgardian god of battle. Since Knut is just going to keep on shouting about these prophesies and no-one's going to believe him, Loki takes the old man by the shoulder and leads him from the chamber, telling everyone that he's going to put this poor, drunk, old man to bed before he prophesies himself into wetting himself.

The last person you ever want leading you to your bed chambers in Asgard is Loki. Sure, he's currently in favor with Balder even after betraying everyone to Dr. Doom in the last storyline but he's still the god of mischief and lies. If he's leading you away from everyone else... he's probably going to kill you. They get to Knut's chamber with the old guy babbling the whole way. Once there, Loki reminds Knut that it's the next day right now. Midnight. He pulls a knife and makes sure Knut's prophesy about not lasting the night comes true.

Heimdall should have seen the HAMMER invasion coming from miles away. It's sort of his job, after all. In Siege #1, we learned that Ares' plan for dealing with Heimdall was to have Sentry blast through his watch station, preventing him from sounding the alarm as well as cutting of Asgard from the Heavenly Realms. Still, Heimdall would have seen the approaching HAMMER ships long before Sentry came in to take him out of the game. Loki has seen to this flaw in Ares' plan.

Heimdall wakes up to the etherial voice of Loki and finds that his entire bed chamber has been relocated. Loki tells Heimy that it proved impossible to just move the ever-vigilant god. He had to take a good chunk of the room with him. Heimdall is surrounded by fiery wards and is told that he is deep within Asgard itself. This doesn't prevent him from seeing the approaching HAMMER Strike Force. It just keeps him from doing anything about it.

It doesn't stop him from trying, though. Heimdall shouts a cry of warning that'll never be heard and runs straight into the first fiery ward.

It's early in the morning before the Siege can properly begin and everything is still pretty peaceful. That leaves Kelda free to leave the great city and walk into town on a personal errand. Back story: When the Asgardians relocated to Latveria, Kelda was accompanied by her mortal lover, Bill. Bill ended up dying while learning of Dr. Doom's plot to disect the Asgardians and study how to become immortal. Kelda took this poorly and ended up at death's door herself. Only Loki's timely arrival saved her. Now, she's got to go to Bill's parents and tell them that their son is dead. She meets Bill's dad outside his house and prepares to tell them some bad news.

Inside Asgard, Heimdall continues to fight his way up through the depths of the city. This is straight through rock, pavement, and more city-type materials. It's not easy and he's lost a great deal of time climbing. Still, he's sees the Sentry approaching at great speed and knows there isn't much time left. Shouting curses and warnings in equal measure, Heimdall finally breaks into the city proper and belows out his warning.

It comes too late. The Sentry has made his attack and burst all the way through the city. The Siege has begun and Asgard is not ready.

The god of battles suddenly finds a good reason to believe Knut. Tyr breaks into the seer's chambers hoping to learn more and somehow turn the vision into a solid win for Asgard. Of course, he finds Knut dead and learns that it wasn't just the attack that's coming true. That means that the part about the death of a war god could also become a reality. Tyr grabs his blade in his good hand (his left one is just a stub covered in a gilded metal wrap) and rushes off to battle. He'll fight against this prophesy to his dying breath.

HAMMER's attack on Asgard is followed up more closely in Siege proper. Now, let's turn our attention back to Broxton where Volstagg finds himself in jail.

Yes, he's there willingly. If V wanted to, he could easily tear those bars apart. Even now, his apprehension for what is happening in his home is enough to cause him to absent-mindedly bend the bars. The television is located so that the people in the cells can enjoy whatever show is on so Volstagg is able to watch along with the police officers. When they see that Thor has fallen to Osborn and his forces, the police officers make a fateful decision.

Unlike a lot of people in the United States, the people of Broxton have accepted the Asgardians as their next door neighbors. They've opened their town to these viking gods and don't seem to mind them being around one bit. Because of that, they take the fall of Thor a little more personally than, say, someone in New Jersey. They know they can't do anything themselves but they also know they're keeping one gigantic god out of the action. They release Volstagg, telling the Asgardian to turn himself back in when the fighting is over. And brush his teeth between meals.

Volstagg almost makes it out the door before he realizes that one sword isn't going to make a whole lot of difference. If only he could tell the world his side of the story. That's where the internet comes in.

Volstagg gets on the police computer and the police set it up to record. Volstagg tells the camera what happened in Chicago. He describes the foes he faced even if he doesn't know them by their U-Foes monikers. He describes raising his sword to defend himself from their attack and finding that the blast had destroyed the entire stadium. Volstagg tells to internet that his blade shouldn't have been able to do that kind of thing. Even if it could, HE couldn't do such a thing. At this point, he breaks down because he DOES blame himself. The police officer who freed him finishes up, telling the camera that the Asgardians have lived among them for a while now and that they're good people. What's happening to them is wrong.

HAMMER is not without it's resources on the World Wide Web. They quickly erase this video but not before it's gone viral. Copies are everywhere. By now, someone has taken out the original audio and replaced it with a biting commentary on the political landscape or on how a television series has ended. That's how the internet works, people.

It also works by getting a message out that would otherwise not have been carried. Osborn pretty much owns the press corps that are reporting about the Siege. This video sends a counter-message out that gathers a lot of support for the Asgardians and their situation. It also lets some people know where Volstagg is.

Like this Thor guy. No, not the one that was taken down by Osborn. He's probably been rescued with the help of Maria Hill by now and is holed up somewhere else in Broxton. No, this Thor is the one wearing the old-school Thor costume. He's known by the name Ragnarok and he is the unholy clone cyborg Thor made by Reed Richards and the Skrull Hank Pym. We saw him just last year in the pages of Avengers: The Initiative attacking Camp Hammond before Osborn moved the facilities.

Since most people who see a Thor walking down the street would never think that it wasn't the genuine article, Ragnarok walks past the police officers and straight on to Volstagg without much of a struggle. Rags has one of the worst attitudes you've ever seen in a clone cyborg. He's also walking with purpose. When Volstagg sees Ragnarok, he's overjoyed to find that Thor hasn't been defeated yet.

Ragnarok knocks him to the ground and V realizes this isn't the friend he thought it was. Ragnarok announces his real identity and then moves in for a killing hammer strike. This is some sort of justice on Rags' part.

dw83.jpgDark Wolverine #83
Writers: Daniel Way & Marjorie Liu
Penciler: Guiseppe Camuncoli

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

In this issue, Daken gloats over the dead body of Norman Osborn. The Fates reveal themselves. They talk their spidery words to Daken. Daken wakes from his trance to find that he never stabbed Norman through with his claws. Osborn flies off and Daken gets orders to enter Broxton in search of Thor. Once there, he is hit by a blast of lightning and falls into another trance where the Fates show him his destiny to bring about Ragnarok. Daken likes what he sees but beats up the Fates anyway. He returns to the real world and finds himself burnt to a crisp. Daken beats up a HAMMER Agent while Iron Patriot does a fly by. The Fates change up their strategy and decide to give Daken a taste of his greatest fear instead of his greatest desire.

Last issue, the Dark Wolverine killed Norman Osborn in the death that none of us fell for. That doesn't stop Daken from standing over the former Green Goblin's corpse and ranting for a bit. That's standard and comes with the territory.

After he's done observing super villain tradition, he looks up to see the Norns bowing before him. They are very impressed with this little killing machine. Dark Wolverine believes they might be here to get a little nookie on top of Norman's dead corpse. No. They really aren't.

But that wouldn't be possible anyway because they aren't really here. This sort of talk piques Daken's interest and he asks what these three creepy ladies want. The Norns know what they want but they aren't going to just reveal it on the third page. That's what the middle of the comic is made for.

With that meet and greet over, Daken snaps back to what we like to call reality. From there, we learn that he never actually stabbed Norman Osborn through the back.

Yeah. No duh.

Iron Patriot hits the skies, leaving Daken all confused. He thought he had killed Ozzy dead. He was pretty much the only one. Soon after, new orders come in that Dark Wolverine is supposed to lead a HAMMER Strike Team into Broxton and search out Thor. Daken puts on his Wolverine head gear and heads into the city to take care of some business.

As Dark Wolverine enters Broxton, the Norns are looking on. They wonder why this magnificent man is following such a weak minded man as Norman Osborn. Why isn't he fulfilling his own destiny? Still, just straight up revealing that kind of thing is not the way of the Fates. They need to work this out in their own way.

We all know how this goes down. Well, we do if we remember what happened in Siege #2. Wolverine entered the city, got a bead on Thor, and was promptly hit with a bolt of lightning. That plays out here but while we're watching the rest of the HAMMER Strike Team melt away, we see that Daken seems to be avoiding any actual harm. In fact, he seems to be more interested in walking through a curiously intact door than caring about his Strike Team.

Before he walks inside, the Fates appear once more and tell him that what lies inside is his Destiny. He opens that door and peers in, seeing Ragnarok.

No, not the clone cyborg of Thor. The fall of the gods and the end of the world kind of Ragnarok.

The Fates, who weren't supposed to just up and explain everything, explain everything. After the last Ragnarok, Thor changed the destiny of his people by cutting them off from their natural order. Ragnarok happens a lot for Asgard, after all. By putting Asgard on earth, Thor separated it from the Norns and prevented Ragnarok from happening again. The Fates aren't really ones to be denied and found a way to implement Ragnarok on Midgard. All they need do is find a mortal agent like Daken. This Dark Wolverine has the perfect makeup to instigate a brand new, all bloody Ragnarok on earth.

Daken freely admits that he'd love to cause Ragnarok but he doesn't want to do it for anyone but himself. He's not a pawn! Don't look at him that way! He grabs the nearest Fate and throws her out of the door. Daken says some defiant words to the Fates and they snap him back to his painful reality.

Remember that lightning bolt that didn't seem to do Daken any harm? It did him a whole lot of harm. He was just off in the spirit world while it did it's thing. Another HAMMER Squad has found him and is making sure he's still alive.

The Iron Patriot is wondering about this as well and does a fly-by to check on his most mischievous Avenger. Daken sees him and slices the first HAMMER Agent to touch him. The injured HAMMER Agent reels back, clutching his face. Daken contiues to watch Norman flying in the sky as the rest of the HAMMER Agents take a nice step back from the mutant. Dark Wolverine gets back on his com and tells Norman that he's not dead. Not yet at least.

The Norns realize the mistake they just made. They did exactly what they said they shouldn't do. They revealed too much. Got over-confident. They need to take a nice step back themselves. Still, the game isn't done yet. They've shown Daken his greatest wish. Now, they're going to work on his fear.

roki4.jpgRealm of Kings: Inhumans #4
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artist: Pablo Raimondi

Last issue, Gorgon battled a Destructoid as many of the other Inhuman Royals watched. Crystal and Ronan led a group of Kree soldiers into battle against Lord Zarek and Dr. Vere. Triton and the Inhuman scouting party found the remains of the T-Bomb within the Fault and then came across Black Bolt himself. Back on Hala, the battle between the Kree dissidents and loyalists heated up but ended with the combined efforts of Crystal and her husband. Crystal used her control of water to disable the Omni-Wave Generator and that got the Alpha Primitives under control. Aboard the T-Bomb, it looked like Black Bolt and Vulcan were still locked in combat but Triton and his team were actually looking at images of the past. Black Bolt wasn't actually here nor was Vulcan. Triton ensured that this loop of recorded time was stopped. On Hala, Crystal and Ronan were about ready to interrogate Dr. Vere only to learn that he was already dead. More than that, they learned that Vere wasn't even Kree. He was a construct created by Maximus who was back to his old games again.

In this issue, Gorgon, Crystal, Ronin, and Lockjaw rush the royal palace with a contingent of Inhuman Elite and Kree Stellar Guard. Karnak tries to stop them, but then lears what they're here to do and tells them that he'll stall the queen while they do what they gotta do. Maximus has monitors all over and listens in on Gorgon and Karnak's conversation and learns that Gorgon had him tagged. Gorgon and company enter the Chamber of Devices and are faced with the Omega ConstructUnknown. In the Fault, Triton talks to Ra-Venn about the report they're going to make to Medusa before the crew succumbs to a crazy mutation. Gorgon, Crystal, and Ronin face off against more of Maximus's inventions before finally cornering Black Bolt's mad brother. Only then do Medusa, Karnak, and Lockjaw teleport in to inform the others that Maximus is under Medusa's protection and was just following orders.

So, Max the Mad is back to being crazy and trying to take the throne for himself. Since this happens ALL THE TIME, Gorgon probably has preparations made for just that sort of eventuality. As Master of the Royal Guard, Gorgon has assembled an attachment of the Inhuman Elite. Ronin has brought in his own Kree Stellar Guard. They're going to find Maximus and end his craziness once and for all.

When they encounter Karnak, it doesn't take long for the Inhuman Royal to realize that Maximus is at it once more. While Gorgon, Crystal, Ronin, and their assorted armies go and take care of Max, Karnak is sent to distract the Queen. After all, Medusa is too delicate to expose to all this treachery and it's a great idea to not tell her what you're doing. When she eventually asks what happened to Maximus, I'm certain they'll have an appropriate response.

Before they all rush off to perform their part in this poorly laid out plan, Gorgon reveals that he's had Maximus tagged with a tracer for some time now. This is interesting because Max is a member of the Royal Family and, moreover, brother to the late king. This isn't standard operating procedure. Still, this isn't the first time Mad Maximus has turned on them. It isn't even the tenth time. He does this sort of thing a lot and Crystal agrees that steps have to be taken. Karnak doesn't seem convinced.

This would all be well and good if Maximus wasn't watching this whole conversation on his monitor. He locates the tracker and removes it.

The signal has lead this team of Inhumans to the Chamber of Devices. This is where Maximus has built all his previously banned weapons of mass destruction. It's the last place you'd want to face the crazy man but that doesn't mean that it doesn't need to be done. In order to prevent Maxy's escape, Gorgon and Ronin leave the Inhuman Elite and the Kree Stellar Guard at the gate. Only Gorgon, Crystal, and Ronin will be heading inside to face Maximus head on.

The three walk the chamber and begin discussing why the hell they always forgive Maximus. Like I said, the dude betrays them ALOT. After a while, you just have to stop letting him betray you. This is how people get killed. Still, Crystal says that it's natural for them to think the best of Maximus. He's a Blackagon, after all. Those guys are usually pretty noble.

Gorgon continues to track Max's signal but it leads the three right into the Omega Construct.

In the Fault, Triton and his team of Kree explorers are making a quick exit. Triton's team had located the T-Bomb and found that Black Bolt was no longer there. Only a recorded memory of him existed in the Bomb's sonic memory. This isn't comprehensive proof that Black Bolt is dead but it's enough for Triton.

But will it be enough for Medusa? Ra-Venn, one of the higher ranking Kree on board, makes the point that this might just open the door for Medusa to continue sending missions into the Fault in a desperate attempt to confirm her husband dead. This could split her focus when she should be dealing with reconstruction and other matters of state. Triton asks if Ra-Venn is suggesting that they lie to the Queen. Ra-Venn isn't saying that. She's saying that Triton should word his report VERY carefully.

Suddenly, alarms begin sounding all over the ship. Triton and Ra-Venn swim to the bridge only to find the Kree manning the station have been infected by some wierd cancerous mutation. Before they can get help, it spreads to Ra-Venn.

Back in Attilan, the Gorgon steps up to beat down the Omega Construct. This giant machine is powered on the hate of the Alpha Primitive slave cast of Attilan and those dudes do a LOT of hating. While Gorgon fights the giant robot, Crystal and Ronin catch sight of Maximus and begin chasing him down.

Maximus keeps on begging them not to follow him. In fact, it seems like he's doing more running than attacking. It's not zero attacking, though. A Chorus Sentry busts through the wall to keep the two busy and allows Maximus to run off. As Crystal easily bests the Chorus Sentry, she gets the impression that Maximus isn't giving this fight his all. It's like he's holding back.

Another group of robots attack the two. While they fight these bots, Maximus tries using some mind tricks on Ronin. They work better than they should. Ronin is ready to hit himself with his own hammer before Crystal disarms her husband. The ex-Avenger hits Max with a few rocks before turning her attention to Ronin. The Accuser is in a trance that Crystal can only break by kissing him.

Yeah, it's love, baby.

Max runs off again but the two are soon joined by a raging mad Gorgon. The Master of the Royal Guard has taken down the Omega Construct and is now very much looking forward to catching Maximus the Mad. The trio corners Max who has just run out of tricks.

Max throws away his control device and surrenders. He tries to tell Gorgon some important information but no-one's willing to listen to him right now.

Maybe they'll listen to the Queen. Medusa teleports in with Karnak thanks to their teleporting dog, Lockjaw. She tells them to back off. Max is under her protection. More than that, Maximus has been following her orders. Oh... that's gonna have some repercusions...


Fantastic Four #33
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciler: Jack Kirby

In this stunning issue, Reed Richards examines a fish! The Human Torch picks up Dorma! Attuma attacks Atlantis! Dorma betrays Namor! The Fantastic Four head to the rescue! While Namor fights Attuma, the FF disarm Attuma's traps! Namor wins with a little help from the Invisible Woman! The Fantastic Four escape to the surface! Namor forgives Dorma and rests!

This isn't the first time that Namor the Sub-Mariner has worked with the Fantastic Four but it might begin a change in Namor and Sue's relationship.

The FF never began in a very logical manner. In this issue, Reed is examining an aquatic lifeform that was found in one of the deeper parts of the ocean. The thing looks more alien than anything else and Reed believes that it must have been forced to flee it's natural habitat.

All this fish examining, gets Johnny Storm interested in exploring the ocean line and he flies off to do just that. Forget all about that fish, by the way. Just like an episode of the Simpsons, that fish was just there to get us to the next part of our adventure.

The Torch reaches the ocean just in time to see a strangely-garbed creature exiting the water in some sort of wierd unexplained contraption. Once the outer layers are stripped away, Johnny sees that it is Dorma inside, complete with a fish bowl on her head so that she can keep breathing that precious water.

You remember Dorma, right? In Fantastic Four Annual #1, Dorma was Namor's Atlantean love interest who left him when she found that he cared more about Sue Storm than he did about her.

Johnny isn't about to wait for her to make her move. He swoops in and snatches her right up, bringing her straight to the Baxter Building. It turns out that just where she wanted to go so, hey, bonus. She is here to save the life of the Sub-Mariner. This perks up Sue's ears and we all sit down while Dorma tells us the reason Namor is in grave peril.

Namor has once again taken the throne of Atlantis. Oh, sure, we've seen him recently surrounded by his Atlantean warriors but the rest of his people had eluded him. Now, he is again a king in his regal vestments and everything.

This just led to bigger problems. No sooner did Namor regain his crown than his kingdom was threatened by underwater barbarians. There's some sort of Atlantean prophecy that says that one day an enemy will show up and destroy Atlantis. The leader of the barbarians, Attuma, thinks that guy is him.

'Tumy is pretty powerful in his own right. He's also got enough leadership qualities to pose a threat to Atlantis. Still Namor is every bit his superior and the defense of Atlantis goes pretty well until a lady gets involved. Dorma sees Namor getting just a little too close to the fighting and tries to get him to move back a little. It's one of those "if you loved me you wouldn't be putting your all into defending our home" type of situations that happens all the time. Namor, of course, is still mooning over Sue Storm and doesn't want to hear another word about love.

Thus spurned, Dorma does the only logical thing. She betrays her people and shows Attuma the way in so that Namor will lose some face to the outside invaders. Of course, she makes this deal under the express agreement that Attuma not harm Namor. That's just not how barbarians roll.

I know, right? "Oh, you can break into our city that you have been laying siege to as long as you don't maim or kill anyone. That's ok with you, right?" Who thought that would work?

Even with Namor's outer defenses breached, he's able to mount a pretty successful inner defense to his city. While he's successfully defending the city that Dorma put in danger, Dorma escaped to the surface to seek the aid of Namor's bitter enemies. Yeah, the Fantastic Four.

Are you seeing a lot of holes in Dorma's logic? Because you should be. Last time Dorma showed up, Namor invaded New York City with an army of Atlanteans. The Four were some of the only defenders. There is some major bad blood between Namor and the Four. Why would they want to save the Sub-Mariner?

OK, there are actual good reasons for doing so. First, they know the threat of Namor. Sure, he's a dick but he's got his own sense of honor that usually prevents him from doing much harm. He'll bluster and everything but, in the end, he'll save lives and defend the innocent. You won't get the same package with Attuma calling the shots. This barbarian will not live by Namor's code of honor and there will be more lives lost with him in charge. If that weren't enough reason, Sue still has feelings for Namor and Reed is a big old softie.

It also gives Richards the excuse to try out a new invention. Oxo-Spray! You bathe yourself in the spray and you have a couple of hours of air surrounding you when you hit the beach. Torch will even be able to burn his flame under water! It's... really wierd but it allows the Four to engage in battle with underwater barbarians so you just go with it.

Instead of putting this one at the last possible minute and thus get the maximum use out of underwater breathing, the Four spray themselves down with Oxo-Spray in the Baxter Building and then make their way to the pier where Reed keeps the Fantastic Four's Bathysphere. They take the sub down to the depths and follow Dorma's instructions in order to reach Namor's undersea kingdom. Again, this is time lost on using that Oxo-Spray.

Once they get close to the Atlantis, the Fantastic Four's Bathysphere is attacked by Attuma's barbarian horde and the Four finally exit the craft and get a feel for battling under water. They avoid fighting as much as they can and try even harder not to be noticed. This is going to be a stealth mission. Namor isn't even going to know they've helped out. Yeah, that title, "Side-by-side with the Sub-Mariner" isn't exactly accurate.

Since Dorma left, Namor has still been doing pretty well for himself and his people. Attuma's forces may have entered the city but they're fighting for every inch they gain. Since Namor is much more powerful than the average Atlantean, he's a powerful advantage to this battle. Attuma's forces are no slouches especially in the technology department. At some point you have to wonder who is supplying these barbarians with equipment. They shouldn't be this well armed with tech.

Namor is tired of fighting defensively and decides to take a more aggressive stance when dealing with these invaders. To that end, he challenges Attuma to one-on-one combat. Namor is much more powerful than Attuma so you might be wondering why Attuma agrees to this. Well, Attuma has strength of his own to draw on but, mostly, he knows that if he can defeat Namor, he'll deal a psychological blow to the Atlanteans and gain the city that much easier. It'll just require a little cheating. He's set up his troops around the location with various weapons to defeat Namor during the one-on-one fight.

This is actually a good, if dishonorable plan. Fortunately for Namor, the Sub-Mariner has some secret allies. Sue has gone invisible and has located the first trap. Seeing it for what it is, she uses her invisible force field to make the weapon backfire. Knowing that there are more where that came from, she swims back to her teammates and everyone swims off to locate the other traps.

You can guess how this goes down. Namor swims into an area as one of the Fantastic Four secretly helps him by destroying whatever trap Attuma has in the area. These traps are everything from soundwave gun to nuclear dissolvo-bomb. Oh, Silver Age. I love your crazy weapons. Of course, the Fantastic Four probe capable of destroying Attuma's traps and Namor gets the upper hand after a few pages of this.

Attuma, of course, isn't ready to stop cheating and reveals two disintegrator rays hidden in his helmet's horns. This might be game over except that Sue, having already disarmed her trap, has swam in for a closer look at this battle. Seeing Attuma's treachery, she does the only thing she can think of. She makes Namor invisible. The gambit pays off. Attuma is unable to remember where Namor was standing and shoots wild, missing the Avenging Son completely.

Namor is so focused on his adversary that he hasn't even noticed that he's see through. He swims in to end this battle.

The FF won't be around to cheer Namor to victory. Their Oxo-Spray is starting to wear off and they don't have a second to lose when it comes to getting back to the ocean surface. They don't even waste time returning to the Bathysphere. They just grab onto Reed and he stretches up to the surface slow enough that they don't get the bends. Apparently, they're in a shallow area of the ocean so that Reed can manage this.

Funny, that scene where the Bathysphere was hitting the black depths of the ocean didn't SEEM very shallow...

Still, the Four get to the surface just in time to not drown. At least not quickly. They're still out in the middle of nowhere. Reed contorts his body into a makeshift floatation device and everyone grabs a hold so they don't have to waste their own strength. Before that last panel, Johnny sees a patrol boat coming over to pick them up. It looks like the Fantastic Four have lived to see another day.

As they wait to be picked up, Sue wonders why Namor hasn't realized how perfect Dorma is for him. I guess Namor needs the lovesick types to betray him more often. Still, it looks like Sue has moved on from her infatuation with Namor. Maybe she and Reed can get married some day.

Which means we can head back below the ocean's surface and find out what happened in Atlantis. Namor, of course pulls a victory out of his fight with Attuma. That's obvious. Attuma ends up surrendering instead of giving his life for his cause and that just pisses Namor off all the more. Instead of taking Attuma prisoner, he has his men round up all these barbarians and they're banished from the kingdom. This... isn't exactly the brightest move on Namor's part. I mean, we're talking barbarians here. They didn't really belong to your kingdom the way it was. Now, you're just setting yourself up for another attack. This is what prisons are made for.

But that battle will come another day. For now, Namor rests from his battle. He's thoroughly exausted. While he's relaxing, Dorma attends him. Namor tells Lady Dorma that he knows all about her betrayal and has forgiven her. After all, this is exactly the kind of thing you do when you're... in love. Dorma decides not to tell her proud king about how he was saved with the help of his enemies, the Fantastic Four.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is that. Be sure to join of very soon as we keep this Siege Train a'movin.'

Until then: 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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