Finishing up a mutant mini and checking up with Osborn!
Today, we check out Dark X-Men #5 and Blast to the Past for Amazing Spider-Man #105. Enjoy and spread the word!
Again, we're in the middle of Siege and there's not a Siege issue in sight. We're getting used to that by now.
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.
And now... the X-Men.
Dark X-Men #5
Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Leonard Kirk
Last issue, Nate Grey admitted to taking over Norman Osborn's body but gave Mystique nothing for her attempt at blackmail except a pep talk. Ozzy fought against X-Man's control, and started to affect Nate's attention. The Dark X-Men learned all about Nate's possession and then had to figure out what to do about it. They went back to the HAMMER Psi-Division and hooked themselves up to the big brain thing. Entering Norman's mind, they followed all Nate's clues and released none other than Norman's Goblin personality.
In this mutant lovin' finalé, the Dark X-Men meet the Green Goblin inside Norman Osborn's brain. They fight until the Goblin realizes that this battle isn't important. He races off with the X-Men on his tail. Norman Osborn arm-wrestles with Nate Grey. The Green Goblin enters the the control center of Norman's mind and tells the X-Men about how jealous Osborn was of them. Goblin slashes Mystique in the neck and races off again. Mimic helps Raven realize that she can't die in here if she doesn't want to. Norman seems to be winning his battle for his own mind. The X-Men chase the Goblin into an undisclosed location where the Goblin captures everyone and then uses Mimic and Omega to suck away X-Man's power. Norman kick's X-Man while the mutant is down. Norman and the Green Goblin say goodbye to each other before parting ways. The X-Men return to the their real bodies. Victoria Hand invites them to join Norman in Avengers Tower. Once there, X-Man shames them for helping the bad guy, before he's carted off to be the living battery powering Omega.
This series turned out to be much more satisfying than I thought it would be.
The Dark X-Men were running around Norman's mind trying to evict Nate Grey but instead they were led right to the Green Goblin. The Goblin is the dark part of Norman's persona that the Director of HAMMER has been pretty good at repressing in recent times. Not PERFECT, but with a little drugs all those Green thoughts just fade away, right? Right?
Since the Dark X-Men don't really want to be dealing with the Goblin, they try to turn around and go back the way they came but the Green Goblin's just seen some fresh meat and is ready to make a night of this. He boards his goblin glider and starts attacking mutants. He's not a fan, by the way. He sees Mystique and her blue skin and declares it the color of mutants. He's spot-on there. If a mutant is going to change color, they'll probably end up blue.
In a lull in the fight, Dark Beast points out the exit for the Goblin. Turns out evil Hank McCoy would actually like to see the Green Goblin take control. Just think of all the experimenting. The Goblin realizes that these mutants are nothing more than a distraction and exits stage right. Raven orders her X-Men to pursue.
In a different sector of Norman's mind, the Oz man himself is still busy wrestling Nate for his own mind. Nate set up the release of Green Goblin so the X-Man is certain things are still going his way. By the look on Norman's face, he's dead wrong.
The X-Men race after the Green Goblin and wind up in what looks to be the repository for all of Norman's memories. There are tons of pictures all over this room depicting major events in Osborn's life. We're about to get a first hand look at what the Goblin believes are the bits that caused him to exist in the first place.
The Goblin tells the X-Men that Norman has always been a jealous of mutants. Why? Good question. It's not that the mutants are persecuted. It's that most of them show what they are on the outside. Mystique is blue. Beast is furry. Angel has wings. They are identifiable as mutants and lay all the cards on the table.
For Norman, it was a different story. For one, he had that awesome hair.
As the Goblin mentions, this stuff required a cap. He then shows off his sensitive skin which showed the need for a mask. A picture of Osborn hanging out with someone who looks to be Tony Stark shows Osborn's desire to be accepted by tough guys. At the same time, Osborn wanted to give the impression that he didn't need that recognition. The most important factor in Norman Osborn's psychic makeup? The will and drive to do anything. The Green Goblin.
That will causes the Green Goblin to slash Mystique's neck and then flee to another area of Norman's mind. Raven drops to the ground, clutching her throat. The X-Men pause to help her. Mimic leans in and tells Mystique to shape shift over the wound. Even if it isn't possible in real life, this is the realm of the mind. All she has to do is think she can and it should be so. Darkholme concentrates and she's suddenly better. Dark Beast muses that this was exactly what the Green Goblin was counting on. All of them stayed behind to make sure Mystique pulled through and the Goblin was able to escape without difficulty. DB thinks this is a flaw. They're being too human. Mimic angrily shouts that there's nothing wrong with being too human but Raven does her best to calm the mutant down. They have a Goblin to chase.
Back in the Norman/X-Man fight, Osborn explains why he isn't concerned about the Green Goblin. That's because, as crazy as the Goblin is, they have an understanding of sorts. The Goblin isn't going to do anything that harms Norman. This is why Osborn had been able to keep his identity a secret for so long. The Green Goblin saw the benefit. Making Osborn look bad as America's Top Cop wouldn't serve the Green Goblin. Norman's expecting his more evil persona to help him evict X-Man from his mind. To drive that point home, he clocks Nate in the face.
The Dark X-Men have once again caught up to the Green Goblin. This room is very dark with a crater of light coming out of the center. The Goblin is sort of mumbling at this point but his words let us know that this room contains just what he needs. Mystique is pissed at this point. The Green Goblin just tried to kill her and she'd like to do some killing right back if that's possible. The Goblin, for his part, feigns surprise that they were able to follow him.
That's because he's been setting them up the whole time. The X-Men attack but quickly learn that in this room all the power belongs to the Green Goblin. Mystique and Dark Beast are captured by tentacles rising from the floor. Mimic and Omega are wrapped up with another tentacle that the Goblin pulls out of the luminescent crater. All part of the plan.
Dark Beast exclaims that this room must contain Norman's primal willpower and the Goblin confirms it. It looks like Norman and the Goblin have indeed teamed up. Since Omega and Mimic are wrapped up in a willpower tentacle, Green Goblin is able to force Mimic to copy Omega's powers. That's an essential part of his master plan.
X-Man beats back Norman one last time before the Goblin shows up with his little mutant battery. The thing about Mimic having Omega's powers is that there are now two mutants in the room that suck out other people's powers. That's just enough to handle an Omega level mutant like Nate Grey. Mimic wishes it didn't have to go down like this but Omega speaks truly when he says they don't have any choice of their own in the matter. This is all the Green Goblin's manipulation.
X-Man falls, powerless. Norman knows just what to do when an enemy collapses on the floor of his mind. He kicks Nate in the head. With the good guy defeated, Norman and Green Goblin stare at each other but they don't really have a lot to say. Eventually, Green Goblin turns around and says "until next time" and probably heads on back to his chamber. With that, Norman expels all the unwanted visitors from his mind.
The X-Men wake up back in HAMMER's psi-division. The psychics that comprised the brain are all dead and the man in charge, Jarl, is unconscious. Before they can leave the brain chamber, they're confronted by Victoria Hand. She tells them that Osborn congratulates them on a successful mission and would like to meet them back at Avengers Tower so they can watch as he tortures X-Man. It looks like Nate's finally made himself a body only to be captured by HAMMER.
The team returns to the Tower to watch as Nate gets majorly beaten up. At the end, Nate's left eye is bandaged up and he's pretty much a living bruise. Norman asks if he has any speech he'd like to end this issue with and of course he does.
This speech is all a shame on you to the Dark X-Men. If they would have chosen to walk the path of the angels, Nate would have helped Mystique and removed the bombs in her body. He would have explained Mimic's flash of precognition. He would have shown Omega why he's the most important mutant on the planet. He would have continued to condemn Dark Beast. If only they had chosen the light side of the force. Everything would have been awesome.
Norman cuts Grey off before he can hope for a better future. The better future is, after all, Norman Osborn. As X-Man is wheeled away to become a living battery for the Omega Machine (the machine introduced in the Utopia crossover that helps power up Omega), the Dark X-Men, at least the redeemable ones, look ashamed of the way they have acted. Sure, they backed the winner but they didn't choose the right side.
The Amazing Spider-Man #105
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciler: Gil Kane
In this issue, Spidey swing into a protest and rescues J Jonah Jameson from himself. Peter Parker attends the homecoming party of his best friend and roommate, Harry Osborn. JJJ buys the latest Spider-Slayer from Mr. Smythe. Jameson chases Spider-Man around the city with the new Spider-Slayer but someone else seems to be pulling the strings. Spidey is lead to a specific location where he fights for his life, as the Spider-Slayer steals a device that will give Professor Smythe access to lots of police cameras all over the city. Jameson is happy to have taken Spider-Man down a peg but is still pissed that the Slayer didn't capture the wall crawler. Spider-Man staggers away. When he reaches the safety of a rooftop, Peter takes off his mask and gives Smythe his secret identity!
Yes, this is an official appearance of Norman Osborn but it's so inconsequential that if you blink you'll miss it! Don't blink!
Spider-Man just got back from the Savage Land where he had a jungle adventure with his pal, Ka-Zar. Now that he's back in New York, Peter decides to swing by the Daily Bugle so that he can sell of some of those Savage Land photos and make a little money. When he gets to the Bugle, he finds a curious gathering outside.
Protesters! These guys are upset that the Bugle isn't focusing more on the plight of the common man. Instead, they're showing articles about Ka-Zar and Spider-Man.
Leading the protest is none other that the Editor-in-Chief's son, Randy Robertson. This is what they call a douche move. When your dad controls the content of a newspaper, you don't go outside that paper and protest it's content. Well, maybe you do but maybe you ask your dad about it all first. Randy didn't do that. He just started protesting. Robbie Robertson shows up to confirm as much. After a talk with his son, he pretty much gives Randy his blessing to continue protesting but warns the group not to lose their heads.
You want to know who's not going to be so graceful? J Jonah Jameson. Jonah's not too happy to see people protesting outside his building. If someone has a problem with the way he does things, he would appreciate a letter more than a mob. One of the protesters gets right in Jameson's grill and the two start arguing. It's JJJ that starts the shoving.
Before things get too heated and this peaceful protest becomes an unruly mob, Spider-Man swings in to remove Jonah from the crowd. This doesn't earn him any brownie points. JJJ is still not a Spider-Man fan. In fact, Peter almost gets hit for his efforts. With that kind of attitude, Spider-Man doesn't really feel that guilty when he leaves Jolly Jonah hanging from the fire escape.
The police move quickly to get Jonah down as the Daily Bugle's publisher swears vengeance on everyone's favorite wall-crawler. The protesters see that they've gotten their message across and Randy disperses the crowd before things heat up again.
Spider-Man has other places to be and doesn't hang out waiting to sell those photos. It turns out that there's a special party being held that requires his attendance.
This is the day that Harry Osborn is released from the hospital, having recovered from his drug overdose back in Amazing Spider-Man #97. They're having one of those swanky welcome home parties. Aunt May is even making to food and serving the drinks. I'd watch out with May involved. Odds are she spiked that punch.
Peter heads back to his apartment and checks in on May before everyone else arrives. Once everyone is in attendance, Peter learns that this isn't just a welcome home party for Harry. Flash Thompson is also back from the war. Peter and Flash have never been best pals but Gwen Stacy demands that they play nicely with each other.
After some uncomfortable moments where Gwen catches up with Flash and Mary-Jane flirts with Peter, the guest of honor arrives. Don't blink! Someone had to drive Harry home from the hospital and we find out it's none other than his loving father. That's right. After the last Green Goblin fit, Norman Osborn went back to being the more peaceful version of himself. This version actually loves his son. Harry is brought to tears when he sees all these people have shown up to his coming home party. That's a lot of people who might actually care for him.
In another part of the city, J Jonah Jameson is trying to make good on his planned vengeance. That leads him to a special lab and an even more special professor: Smythe. That's right. Spider-Slayers.
This year's model is no longer human-shaped. In fact, it's shaped like a spider itself. It even has its own webbing, which Smythe claims is stronger than Spider-Man's. After a short demonstration where Professor Smythe has his Spider-Slayer incapacitate J Jonah Jameson, the Bugle publisher believes that this thing is his best chance at capturing the wall crawler and pays good money for it.
J Jonah Jameson sets up the whole rig at home and then sends his Spider-Slayer into action. This could be a boring night for Jolly Jonah. New York's a big place, after all. The odds of actually finding Spider-Man are pretty lo-- oh, there he is now. Never mind.
Jonah isn't just going to attack Spider-Man. Instead, he's going to follow the web slinger and attack when the time is right. Unfortunately, just when JJJ thinks his time has come, the Spider-Slayer's controller refuses to respond. By the time it's up and working again, Spider-Man has moved out of range. Well, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Unfortunately, at the next opportunity, Jameson has the same problem once more.
Spider-Man still remains blissfully ignorant to the threat of the Spider-Slayer. Smythe has programmed the thing so that it doesn't set off Peter's spider-sense. No, the only thing Peter is noticing as he patrols the city are new gadgets set up on many of the rooftops. You may think that they have something to do with the Spider-Slayers but their function is much more ominous.
We also notice that someone has been holding back the Spider-Slayer from striking. It's not been a malfunction. Someone has been waiting for Spider-Man to be in a specific spot before attacking. Now that Spidey has reached that location, Jameson is finally allowed to strike.
Parker rebounds nicely from the Spider-Slayer's initial attack. At first, he's not certain what's exactly attacking him but one look at Jonah's face showing through the televison-monitor eyes of the creature make it pretty clear that these are some sort of new age Spider-Slayer. What concerns Spider-Man more than the threat of the Spider-Slayer is why Smythe would make another one for Jonah. The first two were enough of an embarrassment to Professor Smythe's career. More than that, the good professor doesn't exactly need Jonah's money. Could it be a simple revenge scheme?
We'll find out shortly but first let's let Spider-Man get into some action scenes with the spider-bot. Spider-Slayers might not seem to be much of a threat but Spider-Man hasn't really beaten them easily. Most of the time he's had to be well-prepared to face them. Since he was caught off-guard by this version, he finds that his fists aren't really doing him much good. More important, Spider-Man is being corralled.
And it's not J Jonah Jameson doing to corralling. In fact, Jamesone continues to notice just how unresponsive this year's Spider-Slayer is. It really needs a better controller. Maybe something with an analog stick.
The fight ends up in a research building. At this point, the Spider-Slayer again starts obeying commands. Spidey doesn't just lay down and play dead but the Spider-Slayer does prove more challenging that Peter expected. Spider-Man works his way on the back of the creature and rides it around the room for a while until the robot makes a quick turn and clotheslines the wall-crawler on some pipes. This wasn't JJJ's move, either. The thing is really giving him troubles.
Spider-Man is unconscious so the Spider-Slayer is able to commit its secret theft. If you haven't figured out who the mysterious controller is, then you probably want to know. Professor Smythe himself has been masterminding this entire fight!
Now, you probably want to know why. It's not just a simple revenge scheme! Smythe was responsible for building a series of... "crime prevention video monitors" all over the city for the police. These unconstitutional little devices would be able to record crimes in progress... and other things... and would give the police access to this taped evidence. It's a lot like Big Brother, actually. The book, not the reality show.
The whole network was run by something called the Master Unit. This was the only piece of equipment that Smythe found too expensive to replicate. Still, it was something he could arrange to be stolen by one of his machines. He just needed the proper alibi so that no-one would think he was responsible. Since he's on the other side of the city, no-one would ever think he had anything to do with the Spider-Slayer stealing the Master Unit.
So he took Jameson's money and then gave the publisher a robot who's commands could be easily overriden.
The question remains. WHY would Smythe do this? He always seemed like a decent man in his previous appearances. Here, he wants it to be the greatest criminal mastermind of them all... but there's another goal he has in mind.
The Spider-Slayer grabs the Master Unit and then returns to it's master. JJJ is pissed because he wasn't able to capture Spider-Man but is very satisfied that he was able to beat the wall-crawler. He'll go yell at Smythe later for the failure of the robot to respond to commands.
Back at his lab, Smythe connects the Master Unit to his computers. He focuses in on a very specific target: Spider-Man. Peter has finally woken up from his impromptu nap and swings away from the lab. On the street below, the police watch him escape the scene of the crime. This was another bit that would throw the authorities off his trail. He set up Spidey to take the fall.
But that's not the end of it. Smythe's rooftop eyes continue following the web spinner until he finally stops on a specific rooftop. You can see Peter's clothes hidden on a chimney so we all know what's going to happen next. When Peter believes himself safe from prying eyes, he unmasks... all right in front of the hidden cameras. Professor Smythe muses about who will destroy Spider-Man... will it be the police or will Smythe get there first?
So, yeah, it's an elaborate revenge scheme. Go figure.
Hey look! Another article is in the can. Let's hope you enjoyed yourself.
Until next time: Who Do YOU Trust?
Comment without an Outhouse Account using Facebook
Note: while you are welcome to speak your mind freely on any topic, we do ask that you keep discussion civil between each other. Nasty personal attacks against other commenters are not welcome here. Thanks!