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Super Reads Dark Reign & Realm of Kings 78

Written by SuperginraiX on Wednesday, June 02 2010 and posted in Features

Filling in the gaps one week at a time!

Today, we check out Guardians of the Galaxy #20, New Avengers #59, Dark Avengers: Ares #2, Dark Wolverine #80, Secret Warriors #10, and Blast to the Past for The Uncanny X-Men # 314. Enjoy and spread the word!

Spoilers Ahead!

The Realm of Kings is winding up while the Dark Reign is winding down.

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.

Let's see what those rascally Guardians are up to...

gotg20.jpgGuardians of the Galaxy #20
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Penciler: Brad Walker

In this galactic guarding issue: Moondragon dreams about what just happened in the pages of Guardians of the Galaxy before rejoining the active duty roster. Rocket Raccoon and Drax the Destroyer explore the Fault and get frickin' creeped out. The Church of Universal Truth runs wild all over the Council meeting on Knowhere and Star-Lord agrees to work with the Luminals while exploring the Fault. Moondragon drops and has a dream about a Warlock Cocoon. The Guardians go out drinking. The Luminals explore the Fault without the Guardians and... bring something back with them.

If you haven't been reading Guardians of the Galaxy, you've missed out on one of the best comics on the stands. No, seriously. This is the comic everyone should be reading but probably isn't. In the latest issues, Adam Warlock stopped the expansion of the Fault by tethering reality to an unused future. That future, unfortunately, was the future of Adam Magus. In Adam Magus's big reveal, half the Guardians end up dead before Star-Lord kills Magus with a fractured Cosmic Cube. This is the kind of thing that you have been dreaming of reading.

But while it makes a dream of a comic for us readers, it's the stuff of nightmares for the Guardians themselves. For instance: Moondragon. You might remember Moondragon as that bald girl you wanted to hate in pretty much every appearance she's ever made. I think the only place I enjoyed reading about Moondragon was in the pages of Peter David's Captain Marvel and even there she was an arrogant B. Nowadays, she's gained new sympathy from yours truly and it's all due to the death of her girlfriend, Phyla-Vell.

Her dreams are troubling but they help fill us in on the recent goings on in the Marvel Cosmic title (explained above). Heather is taking a break from her time as a Guardian to recover from her loss, but sometimes the best thing you can do to get over the loss of a loved one is get moving again. To that end, she puts on her Guardian uniform and joins the team at Knowhere's Continuum Cortex.

While the Fault has stopped expanding, it's still sitting out there being a huge tear in the fabric of reality. Quasar was sent in to look things over in Realm of Kings. Now, the Guardians are exploring it themselves using the teleporter in the Cortex. Rocket Raccoon and Drax the Destroyer have been fed into the teleporter, held securely by vines supplied by Groot. Knowhere's sensors are still picking up readings but the communications unit has stopped functioning. With Moondragon back to duty, she uses her telepathy to maintain contact with the away team.

Moondragon is recently returned to life herself and is having a bit of trouble keeping her telepathy under control. As it was described a number of issues ago, Heather hasn't built up the calluses on her mind that would usually develop from years of psychic training. Because of this, she sometimes gets Rocket and Drax's thoughts mixed up with her own.

Drax and Rocket are down in the Fault attaching navigational boosters to a chunk of ancient rock located within. Suddenly, a huge monster worm thing erupts from underground and drags Drax back in the hole with it. Rocket Raccoon debates about planning a rescue but there's no real choice. Someone's gotta rescue the big green lug.

Rocket enters the hole and finds all the sick things you'd expect to find in your worst nightmares. This would be stuff like spiders with baby faces and those pods that release facehuggers from the Alien movies. Rocket reaches the bottom and finds that Drax has already dealt with all of the baby face spiders in the vicinity but has forgotten all about the giant worm thing.

It appears again and devours them.

Groot pulls on his vines and drags the head and arms of the monster through the teleporter. Bug turns the thing off and kills the creature mid-port. Drax and Rocket emerge from the head of the beast, covered in purple slime and broken equipment, but otherwise, none the worst for the experience.

Later on, Star-Lord invites Moondragon to a meeting of the Knowhere Administrative Council. This is the sort of thing he used to bring Mantis to so that the telepath could read surface thoughts and make sure Star-Lord wasn't getting played too hard by the politicos in the room. He nearly chokes up when he mentions Mantis' name. The death of former teammates is hitting him the hardest. It should. He was the leader and takes the responsibility.

Knowhere is a huge mix of people from all over the galaxy. They don't really turn anyone away which is why this meeting is also attended by members of the Church of Universal Truth. They seem to have a bug up their collective butts throughout this meeting, and keep on shouting their message from their section of the floor. The rest of the meeting is filled up with things like making the Guardians of the Galaxy share exploration of the Fault duties with Knowhere's other peace keeping body, the Luminals. Star-Lord agrees to this reluctantly but doesn't really have a choice in the matter. Again, the Universal Church of Truth drowns out the meeting.

And suddenly Moondragon is no longer attending an Administrative Council meeting. She's walking empty halls until she comes across a cocoon.

You may remember this cocoon. It's appeared in a number of issues of Guardians of the Galaxy and is currently on the Church of Universal Truth's homeworld. You might even know that cocoons like this usually contain a healing Adam Warlock. This is how the artificial man resurrects all the time. Warlock, however, was alive last time we saw this cocoon... and that raises a question about what is inside.

Moondragon doesn't know any of this. It was stuff only revealed to us loyal readers and even we don't know who's inside that thing. I mean, I do, but that's because I've read five issues ahead on this storyline. All Heather knows is that whatever's inside is trying to get out and is horrifying. Moondragon screams.

And wakes up on the floor of the Council Chambers.

Mantis is brought to her chambers and is told to get some rest. Star-Lord thinks she's pushing herself too hard. The rest of the team heads down to the bar and knocks back a drink or eight. Moondragon is the focus of the conversation. Most of the team can't believe how hard she's taking Phyla's death. After all, Heather hasn't been one of the most likeable characters created in the Marvel Universe and is usually not that in touch with any of her emotions. Bug thinks that there was real love between Heather and the late Martyr. Something has definitely changed the bald telepath.

Members of the Universal Church of Truth enter the bar and try their hand at talking to the Guardians but a cold stare lets this particular believer know that there's no harvest he'll get among these warriors. Rocket Raccoon complains about Cosmo letting these psychos aboard Knowhere before remembering that the Russian dog was also killed in the battle that ended Magus's life.

Star-Lord's wrist watch starts shouting at him and telling the team that a xenomorph filter alarm was just triggered. Something that just shouldn't be has come aboard Knowhere. Heather calls up Star-Lord to confirm it.

It seems Moondragon didn't get much sleep. She went back down to the Cortex to find that the Luminals had gone exploring the Fault without the Guardians. Star-Lord is upset by this, but Heather explains that the Luminals didn't exactly need the Guardian's permission to enter the Fault. Unfortunately, their trip to the other side didn't end as neatly as Rocket and Drax's trip (which wasn't a barrel of monkeys either). One of the Luminals came back crazy: Massdriver.

Massdriver is attacking everything in the room which includes Moondragon. Heather believes that something else is inside the Luminal's body and that hypothesesis is quickly declared fact when Massdriver gets a hold of Moondragon and splits open his head revealing a pretty nasty monster goo inside. The Fault creature starts grabbing at Moondragon with it's tentacles in a scene right out of Resident Evil... if Resident Evil were populated by squid-like aliens. It's still really creepy.

na59.jpgThe New Avengers #59
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Stuart Immonen

In the last issue, the Dark Avengers dragged an unconscious Luke Cage away. Ms. Marvel rabbited and Iron Patriot flew off in pursuit. Danvers clocked Osborn and flew off after giving him a lecture. Ares tried to smash the building but wasn't able to because it was held up by webbing. Dark Ms. Marvel raced in and found that Night Nurse had already covered all her bases with the media. The Dark Avengers chased after the New Avengers in the sewers. The New Avengers fought them for a bit before making their escape. The Hood and Madame Masque teleported back to the Hood's hideout and learned what had happened to Parker's gang. Luke Cage was operated on up in the HAMMER Helicarrier but they needed Harrow's power dampener to do any real good. Jessica Jones had a fight with her mom on how she was living her life. When she learned that Luke Cage was in HAMMER custody, she flew off half-cocked for a rescue. Luckily, Ms. Marvel was there to calm her down and told her that there was an actual plan for rescuing Luke forming. Luke was successfully operated on now that the power dampener was available. Norman looked on because he had plans for Cage. Sinister plans.

In this stunning issue: Luke Cage is offered a deal. The New Avengers plan a rescue. All of Cage's friends show up. Doctors Voodoo and Strange locate Luke. The New Avengers attack Camp HAMMER. The Dark Avengers rush off to defend the place. Luke Cage is rescued during a prison transfer. Iron Fist smashes up the HAMMER Helicarrier flight deck. The Dark Avengers arrive at Camp HAMMER to find the New Avengers have already left. The New Avengers are hanging out on a nearby mountaintop looking in on the Dark team and waiting for a call that Luke has been rescued. Everyone meets up at Luke's hospital bed later on to wish the Avenger well. His heart? It has a device attached to it.

Luke Cage had a heart attack. It's all those pizzas he keeps eating... or it was a device that seriously messed up his powers. Either way, he ended up in the hands of the enemy so that they could save his life and his friends could escape. That all worked out just fine. Luke's life was saved. Unfortunately, he's still in the hands of the enemy.

All in all, Norman Osborn has been more than fair to Luke Cage. I mean, this is the guy that put him in jail and caused his secret identity to become public knowledge. Granted, Osborn also put the life of Luke's unborn kid at risk. There's always a tit for a tat. Still, Norman made a deal with Luke at the start of the Dark Reign and kept up his end of the bargain only to see Luke break the deal. Norman might have been forced to save Luke's life because of how public information regarding Luke's capture had become but there were still slimy ways to go about killing the New Avenger after his life had been saved.

Norman has other ideas.

When Cage regains just a bit of consciousness, he has Ms. Hand officially arrest the New Avenger. Then, she offers him a deal: reveal the location of the other rebel Avengers and Luke's wife and daughter will avoid jailtime. I'm assuming the daughter wouldn't actually be put in jail but "ward of the state" isn't any better, is it? This deal is only available until the day is out. Luke doesn't say anything particularly heroic at this. He just passes back out.

At Avengers Hideout, located in the Bronx at Steve Roger's home, the New Avengers are putting together the plan for rescuing Luke Cage. They're all giving up parts of it and you might wonder who they're telling this plan to since it seems to already be fully formed.

Here's the gist of the mission: the New Avengers will distract the Dark Avengers by making themselves a tasty target allowing another team to go in and rescue Cage without worrying about super-powered defenses. So who are they talking to? The other team. It's all of Luke Cage's friends and acquaintances. Doctor Voodoo. Misty Knight. The Thing. Iron Fist. Hellcat. Valkyrie. Daredevil. Doctor Strange. Jessica Jones. It's good to have friends.

First things first, though. Now that they've gathered a rescue team, they need to know the location of the rescue. They can pretty much rule out Avengers Tower. Many of the team have been residents of the Tower and know it too well. It would be like fighting on their home turf. The next most logical choice for holding an Avenger prisoner would be the HAMMER Helicarrier. It's where Norman puts all his stuff and is the most defensible toy he has. Doctor Voodoo and Strange go astral and search out Luke Cage in the flying base.

While travelling through the place, they see Victoria Hand chewing out a HAMMER Agent, Hawkeye making out with Dark Ms. Marvel, and finally come upon the hospital bed of Luke Cage. The two doctors return to Avengers Hideout to tell everyone the good news. Dr. Strange was even able to cast a healing spell to aid in Cage's recovery. Jessica is ready to break the plan right now and have everyone rush the place but the rest of the team know that this needs to be played smart. They can't just run in without a plan or things could end really badly.

Speaking of, Iron Fist just remembers a piece of vital information. His company was offered a magical detector the year before. Knowing Tony Stark, he bought the thing, learned how it worked, and then started building better versions of it for SHIELD when he served as Director. Since all of Tony's toys became Norman's toys, chances are Voodoo and Strange's astral visit was detected. Does this change their plans? No. It just means they need to expect the worst. So, just another day in the lives of the New Avengers.

In New Mexico, the New Avengers attack Camp HAMMER. Since the location of Camp HAMMER is completely secret, you might be wondering how the New Avengers have located it with such ease. If you've been reading Avengers: The Initiative, you'll know that there are spies in the Initiative. This is the kind of information that has passed through to the Avengers Resistance and probably on down to the rest of the Avengers teams. At any rate, this surprise attack is more than Taskmaster is prepared to deal with. He calls in reinforcements from Stormin' Norman.

At the HAMMER Helicarrier, we learn that Tony Stark did indeed buy that magical detector. There is a ghost-like image of Voodoo and Strange hanging out in Luke Cage's room. You can't make out the astral projections clearly but they are clearly there. Victoria theorizes that this could be anyone or anything. It might be AIM, Hydra, or more aliens. Whoever it is, it necesitates moving Luke Cage to another location.

The alarms start going off all over the Helicarrier. No, it's not an attack HERE. It's an attack at Camp HAMMER. Norman is stunned since the location IS a secret but when he learns that it's the New Avengers, he believes the rebel team thinks Cage is being held in New Mexico. He and his own Avengers race off to deal with that threat while Victoria is left to maintain business as usual... and work on moving Luke Cage to another undisclosed location.

Victoria takes charge, ordering reports from all decks and for the transfer of Cage to go through as planned. Then she orders the red lights turned off.

Luke Cage is brought to the flight deck for his standard transfer to another location which won't lead to a rescue attempt at all when it surprisingly leads to a rescue! A werewolf appears before the HAMMER troops but it's actually just a spectral image that distracts the men from detecting the real threat. Behind them, the friends of Luke Cage have gathered.

Below deck, Victoria Hand learns of the rescue attempt, swipes a soldier's gun and races to the flight deck to do he best at thwarting Luke Cage's escape. It takes her precious time to get up to the flight deck and by then the rescue is pretty much accomplished.

Iron Fist orders everyone onto the helicopter so he can make his fist like unto a thing of iron. Victoria orders he troops to open fire.

The helicopter takes off, leaving Iron Fist to shatter the flight deck and cause the entire Helicarrier to rocks to one side. The fallen HAMMER troops on the deck scramble to stay aboard the ship. Some probably fall to their death. Iron Fist is rescued by Valkyrie who is flying around on her pegasus. Luke Cage is officially rescued and his best friend was instrumental in the attempt. Mission accomplished.

The Dark Avengers have arrived at Camp HAMMER only to find that the New Avengers have kicked some tail feathers and left the area. Taskmaster is left to explain himself to his boss. He also gets to punch Hawkeye in the face when the Avenger mocks him one time too many. Iron Patriot gets a call from Ms. Hand telling him that Luke has escaped. Norman is surprisingly calm about this. That's because there are plans in place. Sinister plans.

The New Avengers haven't actually left New Mexico. They's just taken their Quinjet to a nearby mountain top, parked it in cloak, and hung out waiting for the Dark Avengers to show up. Cap is watching them using the only pair of binoculars that anyone owns. This show is great because they get to see Hawkeye fly across the ground after getting punched by Taskmaster. Then, it's just talking.

Carol gets a call in and they learn that Luke Cage has been successfully rescued. Norman and his team takes off for New York and the New Avengers do the same.

Later on in a hospital, Luke Cage wakes up in his hospital bed to find himself surrounded by friends and loved ones. It looks like the New Avengers have pulled a win out of this one. Or... HAVE they?

Luke Cage's heart beats. We look closer. Then closer still. Planted on his heart is some sort of mechanical device. Sinister plans indeed.

daa2.jpgDark Avengers: Ares #2
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Penciler: Manuel Garcia

In the stunning first issue, Ares fired a gattling gun at his new recruits while enjoying a beer. In a flashback, he assembled Team Shade after getting orders from Norman Osborn. Ares explained the differences between himself and Athena. Back in the present, the Shades decided to attack their commanding officer. Back in the past, Ares chose his recruits in an odd manner. In the present, the Shades learned that they didn't exactly kill Ares. That's ok, attacking a stupid commanding officer was the lesson he was trying to drill into them. The Shades got sunglasses and then had to defend their new look in the mess hall. Ares defended his knowledge of war with his fist. The Shades destroyed a bar and got a meeting from Hera. Hera told Ares about his injured son and then swore an oath that all she had said was true. Ares believed that Nick Fury had failed him. It's time for the Shades to get some revenge.

In the spectacular second issue: Ares and his Shades invade an old SHIELD base that is supposedly the location of Ares injured son. The base is long abandoned and littered with long dead Hydra and SHIELD agents. Once inside, they learn that they haven't been moving towards Phobos' location but, instead, Ares' dead son, Kyknos. Kyknos explains how he will be the new god of war when his father is dead and resurrects a bunch of Hydra Agents. Ares and his Shades withdraw until Ares moves in to attack while his men escape.

Ares believes that Nick Fury has failed him and caused his son, Alex, to be injured. His mother has given him the current location of his son and left the god of war to deal with things in his own way. First on his list is recovering Alex. Next, killing Nick Fury.

Ares' son is located at a long abandoned SHIELD base. Ares advises against hitting the normal entrances and heads down on a bomb to make a new entrance for his team of Shades. The Shades parachute after their boss, realizing once more that the god of war is insane. Awesome, but definitely playing by a different set of rules.

This entire book is narrated by one of the Shades, Cameron McGill. He's a smartass with his own crazy streak. He also finds that his boss is growing on him and he's not liking that at all.

The Shades drop into the abandoned SHIELD base and find long dead bodies littered all over the place. It seems that this is the results of an attack forty years past. Nothing explains why the Hydra Agents have no heads.

Questions are raised about the intel on this mission, but Ares has no choice but to take his mother at her word. After all, gods can't break oaths. It's sort of a thing. Besides, Nick Fury is used to using old, abandoned spy bases. This base would fit with his MO. They keep moving through the base.

McGill notices just how awesomely his boss moves through the facility. Ares is like a ninja. McGill knows that the god of war doesn't have to be doing things this way. In fact, Ares could bust in and be out with no help at all. The only reason the god of war is acting this way is because he's working with mortals and trying to keep them safe. McGill sees this as a sign of weakness. It kind of is.

Eventually, the Shades find Ares' son. It's not Phobos.

Hera never lied. That's important. She kept the word of her oath. She just didn't get into any specifics and allowed Ares to fill in a lot of blanks. This IS Ares' son, it's just a different son. A long dead son named Kyknos.

The story of Kyknos is pretty gruesome. This son of Ares was a brutal man who built a temple made of the bones of his enemies in honor of his father. Eventually, Heracles (or Hercules if you want to get all Roman about it) came upon the son and was challenged to combat. Ares attempted to help his son but was halted by Athena who advised that the god of war consult the Fates. The Fates told him that his son would die in battle with Heracles unless Heracles were killed first. Ares was enraged and rushed into battle with Heracles. Athena interfered yet again, blocking a blow that would have injured to Prince of Power. Heracles was then able to deal a tremendous blow on Ares' leg, breaking it. Ares was forced to retreat. His son was killed.

Kyknos doesn't seem to remember that his dad tried to save him. All he remembers is that he was left alone to die at the hands of Hercules.

Kyknos spent a couple hundred lifetimes in Hades until quite recently when Hera decided to replace Ares with a more maleable god of war. Her alliance with Pluto allowed her to return Kyknos to life and make him the offer. Once he kills Ares, he will become the brand-spanking-new god of war.

This battle would seem to favor Ares and his Shades. "Seem" being the operative word. Remember those missing heads on the long dead Hydra Agents? Kyknos has gathered them up. He's also removed their teeth in an attempt to cast a spell. Once he scatters the teeth of Hydra, he will raise the Spartoi to destroy Ares. When Ares realizes what's up, he orders his team to fall back.

This is not retreat. Ares would never retreat.

Now, you might be thinking to yourself: the magic shouldn't work. This isn't A Hydra. These are just mortals with Hydra as their team name. As Ares explains. This isn't about logic. This is magic. Magic doesn't make sense. It's "symbolism weaponized." Suddenly, our Shades are battling tones of skeletonized Hydra Agents.

As the Shades withdraw (while still killing skeletons) there is talk about this being sort of like that 300 movie based on the Frank Miller graphic mini-series. Ares should have been at the actual historic event so they ask how that went down. It turns out Ares wasn't with the Spartans. He hated the Spartans because they claimed to be the ancestors of Heracles and had statues of Ares in chains. Instead, Ares was with the Athenians out at sea because they didn't piss him off as much. Turns out he also fought with the Nazis.

Kyknos has finished spreading Hydra teeth. Now, he tells another offspring of Ares who has been returned to life to join the battle.

Ares is forced into a "stationary offensive." This is sort of like defense except it's got a more warlike name.

Those offspring of Ares join the fight. They are the Mares of Diomedes. Horses. McGill is stunned to learn that Ares has horses for children but Ares points out that divine offspring don't have to have human shape. Heck, Ares shouldn't have to have human shape.

The Shades' position is being over run. Ares covers his men as they climb back out of the SHIELD base. McGill acknowledges in his caption over that the god of war could escape at any time. All that's keeping him down their is his reluctance to retreat compounded by his desire to make sure the Shades can get out alive. The last things we see is him raising his axe in the air as the Hydra skeletons surround his position.

dw80.jpgDark Wolverine #80
Writers: Daniel Way & Marjorie Liu
Pencilers: Stephen Segovia & Paco Diaz Luque

Last issue, Dark Wolverine demanded a surrender but when he got it he started attacking anyway. Things were going well until he underestimated Moses Magnum and got a face full of seismic fury. After that, the battle went seriously downhill for the Dark Avenger. Only Emmy Doolin's intervention stopped them from killing him. Daken passed out while his body healed. The group of wanted criminals decided that the best course of action was to call Norman Osborn and figure out what went wrong. Before Emmy did this, she learned that the media already believed they'd been arrested by Dark Wolverine. That changed her conversation with Norman just a little. She walked into her old job to get security footage of her conversation with Norman Osborn but it was already erased. Fortunately, her old boss was a huge perverted skeezeball and he had his own back-up copies of specific camera footage so he had Emmy's meeting with Norman saved to his hard drive. He handed it over hoping for some nookie but only got himself shot. The criminals planned on using this footage as leverage for their freedom. The scene only got them a deal for getting arrested and released after the fact... and their call traced. They agreed to the deal but Norman had other ideas. He sent out Daken for a second chance at taking out these people.

In this issue, Daken is sent into action. Norman plans his counter-plans for when Daken inevitably goes off the rails. The Magnum gang tries to surrender but Dark Wolverine won't let them. Norman orders the counter-plan into action. The building blows up. Daken lives and is told he'll be the hero of this fight just by being there. Mess officially cleaned up. Logan watches the fallout on television. Daken saves a baby. Norman conducts the post-explosion press conference. Daken kills the Interrogator and causes Emmy Doolin to kill herself.

Dark Wolverine goes to work. This would be as simple as the last time he took down Moses Magnum and his accidental companions but we know how well that went, right? No, this is not going to go according to plan at all. Norman Osborn knows this. He's got camera crew in place to film the entire action scene as it plays out, but he's not expecting Daken to stick to the script.

That's why he has other agents in place. They have orders to clean this up real good when Dark Wolverine jumps the rails. Daken might even be aware of this double-dealing on his boss's part. The panels make this point unclear.

Actually, even though the art is pretty, the panel work doesn't flow as well as you'd like. Some of the details are muddy. Even the ending to this issue had me guessing as to what it actually meant. Hell, I could still be wrong on how I interpret things. We'll leave it up to later writers to prove it either way.

Moses Magnum and his gang are here to get arrested. They know that. They also believe that because of what they have on Norman Osborn that they'll be allowed to slip through the system once they are arrested. They see the cameras set up and know that this is where it all goes down, good or bad. The Interrogator gets rid of the puppy he took a couple issues back. He won't be able to care for it where he's going.

Plans are made. The four criminals are going to surrender to the cameras. Very public.

They won't get the chance. Dark Wolverine is here and he's playing for keeps this time. Cutthroat tries to surrender again but Daken tells him that's not how this is going down. Then he mentions that Norman isn't going to keep that deal they made with the Director of HAMMER.

So, Daken's off the rails. Again. Who'da thought it? Luckily, Norman has that back up plan in place. He orders his men to blow the building. The HAMMER Agents set the charge and run off, warning the camera crew that it was a trap set up by Moses Magnum. The building explodes, causing smaller fires to take the surrounding buildings.

Daken emerges from the destruction with a damaged suit but otherwise unharmed. He curses Norman on his radio connection but Norman tells the mutant that this is how things had to go down. Daken wasn't working for him so Norman fixed up Dark Wolverine's image for him. Osborn quips that next time he needs a job done, maybe he'll call in the real Wolverine instead.

Speaking of James Howlett, guess who's watching all of this on television? Yeah. Logan. You'd think the dude wouldn't have the time to watch TV with all the appearances he makes all over the Marvel Universe but there he is watching the destruction as it happens. The news team keeps recording about how many lives have been lost when Dark Wolverine emerges from the flames with a little package under his arm.

It looks like Daken can fix his own image. He drops to his knees. The baby has made it unharmed. Good job, Daken. That'll help your Q rating.

In Osborn's control room, Norman takes all the credit for this. Clearly, it was all planned out.

On scene, Daken allows the medics to take him away though it looks like he's faking how injured he is. Norman gives a press conference a couple hours later to tell the public that he has things under control and that even though they don't have Moses Magnum or his people yet, it's only a matter of time. For now, he has to deal with the mutant's destruction. When the press ask to talk to Wolverine, Osborn says that his Avenger is still recovering at the hospital.

But that isn't the case. Daken has left the hospital. Norman knows this but since he doesn't know where Daken has gone, it's a good cover story.

Where has Daken gone? Well, after helping Moses Magnum and friends escape, he tracked them down to another location in Chelsea and is working on killing people. The Interrogator is already dead and there's a severed hand of (probably) Cutthroat's hanging out on-panel. The only body we see is that of the Interrogator so it's possible that Cutthroat and Moses Magnum have made it to safety.

Emmy Doolin? Not so much. She's holed up in the bathroom and is down to her last bullet. She's a dead woman walking but that just means that her next conversation has even more meaning. It'll be her last.

Emmy learns that Daken isn't all that interested in killing but he IS interested in his pride. These people made him look bad so they have to die. Emmy tells Daken about her revenge against Daken's father. Seems like the two have something in common. They both want Logan dead. They talk about how their fathers were both heroes and Daken says that doesn't make her anything. You might wonder if he's talking about himself. This is enough banter. Daken demands that Emmy either kill herself or allow him to do it.

Doolin exits the bathroom and tells Daken that she isn't "nothing." She's the beautiful woman that let him live. This just angers Daken.

The next scene is of Emmy's one bullet covered in blood at the shower drain. Emmy killed herself? It certainly looks like it. We just know for certain that she didn't kill Dark Wolverine.

sw10.jpgSecret Warriors #10
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Alessandro Vitti

Last issue, Eden, JT, and Alex ran right ahead of pursuing HAMMER Agents and a few Dark Avengers. The three took one of Eden's teleportals and were followed by Ares. Yo-Yo took on a hell of a lot of HAMMER Agents. Daisy unleashed an army of Nick Fury LMD's. The Secret Warriors continued their fight with Ares, Hawkeye, and the Iron Patriot as well as numerous HAMMER Agents. Thirty seconds before their base exploded, the Warriors made their getaway. Norman jetted out soon afterwards. At the US Department of the Treasury, John Garrett had a meeting with Seth Waters. Waters gave Garrett a whole lot of warnings before the cyborg left and met with Nick Fury. The Secret Warriors rendezvous at the Cocoon base. Ares emerged from the rubble of Inside Straight.

In this issue, we get some backstory on the war of gods that ended in the first Ares mini-series. We also get a quick play of events from that mini-series including the showdown between Phobos and Ares. We move quickly through the next year as Ares becomes a Mighty Avenger and Phobos is recruited into the Secret Warriors. Nick Fury makes a deal with Ares to get into Avengers Tower. Ares meets with his son to lead Alexander to the judging of the gods. Phobos is declared the new god of fear. Ares tells Alexander that this will eventually mean his death only to be reborn into full godhood.

I'm not going to lie to you. I never read Ares' first mini-series. I heard it was awesome so it's something I'll probably get eventually. It's sad because it's the back story behind great books like Hercules and more fallout has been happening in this book as well as Dark Avengers. What you need to know is explained in short detail in the first few pages of this comic. The gods of the east fought the gods of the west. Two killer swords were made. The perfect weapon, Godkiller, was lost. The imperfect, Grasscutter, was kept and put in the hands of Phobos.

Phobos was under the influence of the eastern god Mikaboshi when he tried to kill his father. Ares didn't fight back but declared his love for his son. Bonds were formed. Ares and Phobos went off and lived off the land. Ares kept his son from wielding Grasscutter and trained him in the use of other weapons. Alexander let it be known that he wanted to be a hero. Ares was ok with that as long as his son was a "fierce hero."

There would also come a time of testing but since that was in the future, they had time to kill. Alex decides he wants to New York. Ares believes this is a good idea. They'll both find their destinies there, he's certain.

Ares joins the Mighty Avengers alongside Iron Man, Ms. Marvel, Sentry, Wonderman, Wasp, and the Black Widow. During the battle with the Moleman's monsters, Phobos is proud of his father joining the side of justice. It's not long after that when Alex's destiny reveals itself. He's approached by Daisy Johnson and joins the Secret Warriors. Father and son fight Skrulls together during the Secret Invasion.

Then Ares joins the Dark Avengers and Alexander loses some respect for his poppa.

If you're wondering where Dark Avengers #9 fits into things, it's right about here. Ares visited the Secret Warriors and entrusted his son into the care of Nick Fury. Fury visited the god of war the next day and asked a boon. Nick needed help breaking into Avengers Tower for his confrontation with Norman Osborn in the List special for Secret Warriors. In return for this favor, Nick would get Ares a meeting with his son.

Before Nick set up his break in of Avengers Tower, the last couple issues happened. That's when Ares tried to get a hold of his son on his own and ended up in a base set to explode. Finally, we've got Dark Reign- The List: Secret Warriors happen where Ares fulfills his promise to Nick Fury. That means Nick has to produce on his end of the bargain.

Ares heads to "the place" and waits until the door is opened for him. Impatiently, I might add. He enters one of Nick Fury's secret bases and finds Fury and his son waiting. Fury didn't explain anything to Phobos and it's quickly understood that just because Nick brought Alex here doesn't mean Alex has to go with his father. Ares is going to have to convince his kid of that.

Ares understands that the two find themselves on opposite sides in the current Marvel Universe but, as gods, they are above these petty concerns. They're just things to pass the time. What is important is that Alexander was a mortal boy who's godhood was released when he drank the blood of Mikaboshi. There are some gods who say that sort of thing is unnatural. Ares is gathering up his son so that they can meet a council of gods to face them about Phobos' future. Alex doesn't know what to do. Nick Fury convinces the Secret Warrior that this is the sort of thing to face head on. He should go meet the council of gods.

Ares and Phobos head off to some heavenly plain or another. Before bringing his son before this council of dieties, Ares has Phobos dress for the part. That means putting on his armor and sword. When Alex pulls Grasscutter from it's scabbard, he finds that it has stained red from Ares' blood. Ares helps his kid get dressed and then they walk off to face the god council. Ares tells Alex that no matter what happens, he is very proud of his kid.

Random gods from assorted pantheons hang out in these chambers, but the important ones are sitting in front of everyone. Hera, Balder, and Quetzalcoatl. Balder asks who it is that faces the council and Alex answers "I'm Alexander."

When Hera asks by what right someone who has caused the gods so much grief faces the council, Alex responds "I am the god of fear."

And he totally is. Ares lifts him up above the council as Hera declares him the new god of fear.

There is much celebration in this divine chamber and Alexander is enjoying himself a great deal. Even Ares is in good spirits. Still, he warns Alex about what WILL happen. Some day, Phobos will be cut down. While he is a full god, it will take his death to bring his godhood into it's fullness.

uxm314.jpgThe Uncanny X-Men #314
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Lee Weeks

In this mind-altering issue of the X-Men, Emma Frost takes Bobby Drake's body out for a spin, using his powers in ways Drake has never imagined. After evading Archangel and Storm, Frost escapes down a river in iceform. Charles Xavier and Banshee pursue in the Blackbird. Bishop fights in the Danger Room as a holographic version of his sister makes fun of him. Frost breaks into her own tower to find out where her students are and learns they're all dead. She decides that the security force can kill her but Xavier stops them. Emma tells Xavier just why she's to blame for her students' deaths before Banshee carries her out of the area.

We skipped one or two appearances of Emma Frost for a very specific reason. She was unconscious at the time. Ever since we last saw her in Uncanny X-Men #283, Emma has been in a coma and in the care of the X-Men. Only recently has this been revealed. Like, maybe three issues ago at best. What happened next is one of those common tales where someone like Iceman reflexively moves to protect the coma girl from an unseen attack and winds up with coma girl's mind in his head. This is something that is probably more common for Emma Frost than most since she's swapped minds before.

So while her body is still in a coma, she is free to roam the world in Bobby Drake's body. Sadly, she has a better handle at Iceman's potential. There's just so much you can do with ice and while Bobby has been learning some new tricks, he hasn't explored his powers to the same depth that Emma does.

This comes in handy when she finds herself facing Archangel and Storm. It seems the X-Men aren't as happy that Emma Frost has run away from the X-Mansion in one of their teammate's bodies. More alarming is how little they can do about it. Warren's neuro-blades don't do anything to Iceman.

Frost hits the river and freezes the entire surface. There's no telling where she'll end up. Ororo reports back to Charles Xavier and the Professor orders them off this one. He knows exactly where Emma Frost is heading and believes that this is a journey that she MUST make just as much as he knows that he has to be there after she learns what she needs to learn.

Frost is able to travel three miles in five seconds just by traveling in the river. It's something to do with icing the whole thing and traveling down the ice or something. Don't ask me. If I were Iceman I'd just be happy to not feel the tremendous cold of the Minnesota winters. That would be awesome.

Back at the X-Mansion, life goes on. Bishop, future traitor to all things X, is training in the Danger Room. He's fighting a robot while a voice from off panel mocks how difficult this fight seems to be for the future X-Man. After the fight is won, it's more mocking and chiding from Bishop's holographic sister, Shard. It seems that Bishop has spent a lot of time programming a perfect replica of his sister into the Danger Room.

And he's not sure if this was a good idea. He's trying to live in the moment instead of the future, and bringing to life a piece of the future isn't exactly letting go. Still, he loves his sister very much so seeing her isn't something he'd take back.

Jubilee enters the Danger Room and Shard's program automatically pauses. Bishop resumes the program so that Jubilee can get a proper introduction. Again, she's called the "Last X-Man" but Shard doesn't know why Jubes got this moniker. Neither do I, actually. I don't think they ever gave a definitive answer to this and since Jubilee isn't a major X-Man anymore (she's currently depowered) odds are pretty good her "Last X-Man" status is revoked. Hell, Bishop's future should be all but prevented at this point but it keeps coming up.

Jubilee wonders why Shard didn't come back to the present with Bishop so Bish explains. Shard is dead. He killed her.

Frost has hit Wall Street and, more importantly, Frost Enterprises. She's planning on working her way up to her offices but knows that she won't get far without resistance if she remains in her iced form. Iceman is just too recognizable. Unfortunately, even though she can use Iceman's powers like nobody's business, she can't figure out how to turn back into human form. When she tries, she starts making ice bones which hurt like hell. It looks like Emma will need to do this the hard way.

Two guards find her soon after her failure to change into human form. They point their guns and get Iceman's name wrong. Emma starts throwing around threats, which is what she does, and ends up getting shot in the chest.

Fortunately, it doesn't do any lasting damage.

Frost disarms the guards and then warns them to back away and to tell the rest of the security detail to let her pass if they don't want more of the same. With that, she melts under the door and reforms on the other side. Yeah, these are definitely tricks Iceman should learn. You don't see him this formidable very often.

Emma still meets some resistance inside Frost Enterprises but she's able to use those ice powers to her advantage. She's not used to all this physical confrontation, though. She's used to manipulating events from behind the scenes with her telepathy. She tries lying to herself to admit that she only trained the Hellions to protect her from others but since we're dealing with one of mighty Marvel's reformed villains, Emma is no longer doing things for bad-guy reasons. She claims to have formed the Hellions to help them train. To protect the poor little children.

When she accesses her computer, she learns that she failed. Her students are all dead. The computer gives detailed computer-generated images of their deaths just so Emma can see how her students died. Frost is overcome with guilt and grief and blames no-one but herself.

When security finally catches up to her she demands that they kill her and they're about to take her up on it.

Until Xavier arrives and stops this from happening. I mean, this isn't even her body. She's letting Iceman die just because she's feeling guilty.

It's the wrong time to bring up that, however. Xavier tries to convince her that she shouldn't take responsibility for the deaths caused by Trevor Fitzroy. Emma doesn't buy that for a moment. She painstakingly worked to find all of these mutants. She didn't have a mutant detector. All she had was money that she could use to mount a search for mutants. When she found one, she made sure that Xavier and Magneto wouldn't be able to detect their presence. All this she did because she firmly believed that she could train them better than anyone else. If she had allowed someone like Xavier to train the Hellions, they would be alive today.

Xavier doesn't mention the deaths of Cypher and Warlock. He was off-planet at the time after all and they'll both eventually be returned to the land of the living so no harm done, right? In fact, he doesn't have anything else to say. Banshee, however, does.

Sean's words don't exactly comfort. They don't forgive. He just tells Emma to get back up and work with them to make sure that the next generation of mutants survives. No more factions should separate them. They need to get in this together. With that, he reaches out and takes Frost's hand. Emma is out of energy at this point. Banshee carries the body of Iceman out of the room.

Xavier lingers behind. He sees the names of all those dead Hellions on the monitor and he does his own apologizing. He promises that never again will mutants die because they aren't on the same faction. This isn't a promise he'll be able to keep, of course. It's just something that he's really like to see happen.

The next generation of mutants is far from safe from the death and dying that happened with the Hellions. In fact, you could say that they fell because of that Hellion legacy. It seems the New Mutants are still all alive and well, after all. Generation X just didn't have that kind of luck.

And, with that, we are done.

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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