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Super Reads Siege & Thanos Imperative 16

Written by SuperginraiX on Tuesday, June 29 2010 and posted in Features

Thanos Imperative lead ins!  Woo!

Today, we check out Nova #36, Guardians of the Galaxy #25, Siege: Spider-Man #1 and Blast to the Past for The Amazing Spider-Man #117. Enjoy and spread the word!

Spoilers Ahead!

It seems everyone had something to do when Asgard fell.

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 backstory (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 look in on the newest Avengers...

n36.jpgNova #36
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artist: Andrea DiVito

In the last issue, Old Sphinx stood triumphant with two Ka Stones! The two teams of champions fought him only to lose terribly. Old Sphinx ate New Sphinx! Mr. Fantastic theorized that the impossible could happen in this little pocket reality. They formed a plan; Nova flew up to get close to the Sphinx while Mr. Fantastic became the super-computer that calculated the math to form a stargate. Sphinx was forced out of the pocket reality before he had time to acclimate his powers to real world dynamics, and everything jumped back to the way it should be. Well, almost everything. Nova kept a tight hold on Namorita and pulled her back to the future. He woke up on the Nova Corps Starship with her and Darkhawk.

In this stunning lead-in to the Thanos Imperative, Richard Rider flies down to Project: Pegasus for a heart-to-heart with Quasar. He gets this Quasar's story before revealing that he knows this one is a fake. Big fight scene! Meanwhile, Darkhawk is searching the sub-vaults when he discovers the Horrorscope! As Rider is at one of those low points in the battle, we get a flashback to earlier when he planned out this confrontation with his Corps and his formerly dead girlfriend, Namorita. In the present, he deactivates the Fault-monster-controlled Guardians and continues the battle one-on-one agains Dark Quasar. Nova frees Dr. Necker from Fault-monster control with a gravimetric shield. The two travel down to the sub-levels to find that Horrorscope. Evil Quasar removes Darkhawk from the fight with a quantum blast to the back. The villain makes a retreat, forcing Nova to choose between saving the world or following him. Nova beats back the Horrorscope creature and then races to catch up with Fault Quasar. He calls it in to Worldmind during his pursuit.

Project: Pegasus! We finally return to this pivotal location! You may remember that Project: Pegusus featured in the Realm of Kings One-Shot quite prominently. They were involved in exploring the Fault, the cosmic tear in time and space with the help of the Guardians of the Galaxy and Quasar. At the end of that issue, the Fault version of Quasar ended up in our universe in this very complex. Since then, everything has gone quite quiet.

Well, there was the Absorbing Man incident over in Mighty Avengers, but that most likely took place prior to Realm of Kings. During RoK, Director Gruenwald was reinstated as head of Project: Pegasus and HAMMER control was relinquished. In Mighty Avengers, HAMMER is still in charge of the complex.

Our issue begins with Nova visiting the facilities. Nova came back not just to pay a house call but because they had lost contacts with the facility. All he was able to get was a prerecorded message saying that Project: Pegasus was under quarantine. Evil Quasar explains that this was standard procedure that was put in place after he returned from the Fault. They wanted to make sure that he hadn't brought back anything nasty. Now, WE all know that this Quasar isn't the genuine article because we've been paying attention. The question now is: has Richard Rider been paying attention? Is he getting played?

Let's find out together.

Not only has Director Gruenwald been reinstated but it looks like many of the doctors and scientists fired by HAMMER have also returned. Chief among these is Doctor Necker. She was the potential love interest of Richard's that turned out to be an AIM Agent. She's back but nobody seems all that worried about her "secret" motivations.

Since Nova's around, they put him to work lifting heavy objects with Quasar's help. While they engage in some super manual labor, Nova is asking Quasar some casual questions about the Fault. Quasar claims he didn't find anything unusual inside. Nova tells him about his latest adventures with the Sphinx and how that was just on the edge of Fault-space. He would have figured things would get even worse the further in you went.

He also compliments Quasar on his new clothes. It's a much cooler look, even though it's evil. The two move on to other topics of conversation and you can almost believe this is the real Quasar. This one even questions Richard's judgement in bringing a time-displaced Namorita into the future. Nova isn't too concerned. Who hasn't returned from the dead? And time traveling heroes? Just another day, right?

Rider takes a trip down memory lane, recalling when Quasar gave him the Quantum Bands, saving his life and allowing him to fight off the influence of Ego the Living Planet on the Worldmind. During this, they had formed an empathic bond that linked them. He says this all pretty casually but we can read between the lines. He doesn't have this bond with this particular Quasar because this isn't the Marvel Universe's Quasar.

But he doesn't let in that he knows just yet. He just tells Quasar that he's happy to see the hero and then asks how he came out of the Fault... and maybe he's interested in why Quasar now has flesh and blood instead of a Quantum body. The Fault Quasar responds that the "esotoric energies of the Fault helped [him] to re-cohere [his] quantum form." This sounds plausible. In fact, it's the same thing that the real Quasar told Nova the day before.

When Richard tells that to Evil Quasar, the battle starts immediately. Quasar's face alters to a more mutated look as he pits his quantum powers against Nova's gravimetric control. While the two fight, Richard contacts Darkhawk. Chris was sent to the sub-vaults to track down a mysterious energy emission detected by Worldmind. What he finds in sub-vault seventy-seven is some sort of gate with a cancer-verse monster emerging from it.

Director Gruenwald and a group of soldiers (possibly HAMMER troops) show up and tell Darkhawk that what he's looking at is the Horrorscope. Chris tries to tell them that they've been working for an evil universe version of Quasar but they've already been turned. On the back of their necks are cancer-verse creatures controlling their actions and making their eyes glow red. They're going to try their best to kill Darkhawk.

Chris calls upstairs for help but Nova has his hands full. Not only is he fighting it out with an evil Quasar, he also learns that everyone above has also been turned. Doctor Necker, for one. The Guardians for another. While Project: Pegasus' security force attacks Richard from one direction, Quasar strikes from another. Suddenly, things look really bad for our good buddy, Richard Rider, and we wonder along with Quasar if this was as far as Nova Prime had planned.

Which leads us to our prerequisite flashback of the issue. We're back aboard the Nova Corps' current headquarters, the starship, Resolute Duty, six hours prior to this issue's escapades.

Richard has already contacted the real Quasar after Wendell Vaughn returned from the Fault with the Imperial Guard. He and Darkhawk are getting ready to fly to Project: Pegasus and get some answers. Namorita, who shouldn't really be alive right now, wonders if his plan is simply rushing in and beating people up. Richard explains that there's a unique strategy that he's going to employ but doesn't let in on what that entails.

Worldmind gives the Nova Corps the basics of what's going on with this mission, with parts explained by Nova Prime and the former security chief of Project: Pegasus, Darkhawk. They replay part of Richard's conversation with the real Quasar. This one isn't giving the same story about the Fault being peaceful. In fact, Wendell is telling a very different version of the Fault. They need to get ready because the cancer-verse is coming and it's not going to be pretty. Worldmind tells everyone about the anomalous energy source that seems to be searching the galaxy for something.

Richard leaves Philo in charge again. The Nova Corps will remain here and monitor the Fault for any aggressive activity. If something happens, Philo has a list of people that need to be contacted. Now, maybe someone can tell Namorita just what Richard's plan is...

Back in the relative present, we'll see that plan first hand. Nova has the code to deactivate the Guardian armor. Yes. That's his master plan. The good news is the fight is back to being just Quasar versus Nova. The bad news is that's the only real plan Richard had.

Fortunately, Nova is good at thinking on his feet. After giving evil Quasar a blast of gravimetric blastiness, Richard scoops up Doctor Necker in a bubble of grav-force and performs a little science experiment. It turns out that whatever is controlling Doctor Necker is connected to another source that has now been cut off by Nova's gravity bubble. The little monster disconnects from Doctor Necker's neck and Richard lets her out, blasting the vile creature when the bubble is removed.

Necker fills him in on the Horrorscope but doesn't actually know it's exact purpose. The two almost kiss even though it would be a phenomenally bad idea. Remember that formerly dead girlfriend back on the Resolute Duty? Remember that Necker is an AIM Agent? Worldmind does. She cuts in to prevent Rider from doing something idiotic and also lets him know that whatever's going on down in sub-vault seventy-seven, it's going on with a gusto now. Richard grabs Doctor Necker and the two fly down to investigate.

When they get down to the sub-vault, they find that Darkhawk used the same trick Nova did to deactivate the Guardian armors. Now, they just have to face a raging mad Director Gruenwald. After Nova encases him in a bubble to get that little parasite off Gruenwald's neck, they find Darkhawk fighting the Horrorscope creature.

The tentacled sickness coming out of the ring is NOT the Horrorscope according to Doctor Necker. She's not sure what that thing is. The Horrorscope is the portal itself. The monster will have to be dealt with, though. Nova joins Darkhawk in pushing the thing back through the gate. They probably would have succeeded, too, except no-one actually factored in Dark Quasar not being down for the count. He shows up and shoots both heroes in the back with a quantum blast.

Evil Quasar is already declaring victory but Richard isn't convinced. He and his Nova Corps are here to protect this dimension. Fake Quasar tells Rider how long the Nova Corps lasted in his native universe. Forty-seven minutes. Things look bleak for the future.

Dark Quasar gives Nova a choice. It turns out that he already found what he was looking for with the Horrorscope. He's about to return to the Fault and tell his masters. Richard can follow him or he can prevent that monster from destroying the earth. There isn't time to do both.

If Darkhawk were up, he'd be able to make this decision a whole lot easier but it looks like Chris has been forced back into his human form. Chris Powell isn't looking good, either. The evil Quasar takes off leaving Nova with no decision at all.

It's time to save the world.

Richard calls in to Worldmind for every last bit of spare energy, focuses it in a tight grav-beam, and shoots the monster back through the Horrorscope. The gate is shut, which means that everyone that had one of those parasite monsters on the back of their necks is probably not being controlled anymore. Richard takes just a moment to look in on Chris and say good-bye to Doc Necker before he shoots off like the human rocket he is.

Evil Quasar has a good headstart but Nova is no slouch when it comes to space travel. He tells Worldmind to pour on the speed. He also has her send out an 8x8 distress warning to everyone about the dangers of the Fault, and alert them that he is in response.

As Nova flies off in pursuit, the last little blurb tells us that this is "Never the End!" Hopefully that means we'll see the return of this great book when The Thanos Imperative concludes. Until then, this book is on hiatus. If we never see it again, Nova was a wild ride. Thirty-six great issues.

gotg25.jpgGuardians of the Galaxy #25
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Penciler: Brad Walker

Last issue, Martyr and company fought their way through wave after wave of Universal Truth Black Knights. Phyla had a conversation on the spirit plane with Maelstrom. The Matriarch attacked! On Ovar, the Guardians of the Galaxy fought off a failed assassination attempt on King Blastaar. They found that Blastaar wasn't grateful for the save and wanted the Guardians removed from the planet. Star-Lord upped the ante and got Groot a seat on the council (King of Planet X.) Heather told everyone that Adam Magus was alive. Major Victory took out the Matriarch. Martyr opened the Church of Universal Truth's cocoon and got killed by the occupant inside. Thanos was back.

In the senses-shattering conclusion of Guardians of the Galaxy, the many Guardians of the Future Galaxies meet and talk about the present and how they are in grave danger. Now the Guardians of the Galaxy arrive on Sacrocanct and find the entire planet ablaze. They are reunited with the Guardians they all thought to be dead and duke it out with an enraged, bestial Thanos. The Guardians hit hard and try running away but some of their number (Drax) aren't ready to run from this fight. Drax wants to complete his mission and kill Thanos yet again but that seems to be an impossibility. Star-Lord pulls out his fractured Cosmic Cube and uses it to deliver one awesome blast of power. Thanos is contained and the team returns to Knowhere. In the future, Starhawk declares that the anomoly in space-time is Thanos and now it's all down to the Guardians of the Galaxy to save the universe and the future. Back at Knowhere, Peter Quill toasts the Guardians they've lost. He and Rocket Raccoon toast again to their future.

This is the best comic you'll read this week, but that doesn't mean it doesn't get a bit confusing in the beginning. It gets that way when time travel is involved.

The year is 3010. Starhawk and his team of Guardians of the Galaxy are about to attend a special meeting of the Council of the Guardians of All Galaxies. These are various iterations of the future Guardians and they all think they know what's best to maintain the timeline. You see, something in the past fractured the future and caused time to come to an end all over the place. There was an anomoly in the past but no-one could figure out what it was.

Everyone thought that it had been solved when the Fault was contained. In fact, every future iteration seemed to return. That doesn't suit the first Starhawk at all. He believes this is a calm before an even greater storm. All they've gained is a temporary reprieve.

Everyone talks about the beginning of the Guardians of the Galaxy, how Peter Quill saw the threat to the Galaxy and brought together a group of adventurers to maintain a sense of peace in a violent universe. From that beginning, all these Guardians have emerged. Those in attendance seem to feel that if Star-Lord hadn't formed the Guardians, they would have formed elsewhere. History would just alter events but they would still happen.

What Starhawk is telling everyone is that it isn't the case. The precise events that lead to the formation of the Guardians of the Galaxy are unique. If they are messed with, everything else unravels. The Chronal Anomaly.

Originally, Starhawk believed that this anomaly was a time-displaced Major Victory. Then they believed that Major Victory was just a SYMPTOM of the actual anomoly, the Fault. Now, however, Starhawk believes the Chronal Anomaly to be something or someone else entirely.

It should also be mentioned here that they talk about how containing the Fault led to the threat of Adam Magus. This in itself is nothing but Adam Magus was "defeated" when Kang the Conqueror gave a time-displaced Star-Lord a fractured Cosmic Cube to use against Magus. Not only will that Fractured Cosmic Cube be used in this story, it's always nice to note a Kang the Conqueror appearance. Kang is one of the coolest Avengers villains and his appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy might set up his next appearance in Avengers #1.

Still, everything is fine now. Right? Wrong. Starhawk has found a new log in the old data tracks that wasn't there the last time he checked.

Now, we can return to the present and reunite the Guardians of the Galaxy. Star-Lord and his team learned last issue that Adam Magus lived and that Peter had been tricked by magic into believing he'd killed Adam Warlock with the fractured Cosmic Cube. Now, everything is called into question. Magus being alive is one thing. Moondragon had another telepathic vision that told her that someone even worse had been brought back from the grave. Star-Lord isn't willing to say the name out loud just yet. He and his team teleport to Sacrosanct to investigate this claim before he can given the merit of saying it aloud.

What they find on Sacrosanct is lots and lots of burning. This was the home-planet of the Universal Church of Truth. There was a massive population of believers centered here. Now, they're all dead.

The question is: what about those Guardians of the Galaxy that were originally reported dead only to possibly be alive on this planet? Are they STILL alive? There's no telling at this point.

What you can tell is what in causing all this death. Drax the Destroyer can smell it. Thanos. This is extra frustrating for Drax since his only real mission in life has been to kill Thanos. It's a mission he had finally completed and to find that Thanos lived yet again... yeah. Not good news.

In the distance, something explodes good and loud. Our team decides the best move they could make is to head towards the explosion.

What they find is their missing teammates. Gamora, Major Victory, and Mantis (and Cosmo but he's not technically a team member) run right into them. There's a touching reunion of all our key players and some tears for Moondragon when she learns that her girlfriend, Phyla-Vell, didn't make it.

More talk will have to wait for later. Thanos has arrived and he's in a rage. In fact, that's about all he's in. There don't seem to be any higher thoughts going through Thanos' head. It's all just primitive super-anger. Thanos didn't want to return to life. Since he has, everyone must pay.

There's no way the team can retreat. They can't leave this threat alive. Thanos just killed an entire planet. He can't be free. This is what Mantis and her team had been working on before Star-Lord arrived. Before a battle strategy can be put into place, Moondragon makes one up on the go.

She's understandably upset that Thanos killed her girlfriend. Heather tries using her telepathic powers on Thanos but they have no effect. She calls for Mantis and Cosmo to back her up but we learn a bit later that telepathy isn't the way to go. Thanos has some heavy shields in place. Before Thanos can kill Moondragon, Major Victory comes to the rescue, blocking Thanos' blow with his mighty shield.

To cover their retreat, the rest of the Guardians open fire. Nothing they throw at the mad Titan even dents his skin. Peter calls a retreat and the team begins running for cover. Thanos follows, blasting wildly.

Groot decides to distract Thanos and allow the rest of the Guardians to escape. The massive tree-man is probably the strongest physical member of the Guardians but he still doesn't stand a chance against Thanos. Something has super-charged the Titan.

Drax and Gamora huddle behind some wreckage. Drax REALLY wants to engage Thanos but Gamora warns him that the villain is unbeatable now. She's had a god-killing sword that shattered on Thanos' skin. The dude is tough.

It doesn't matter. This is what Drax was built for. The Destroyer enters the fight anyway. No-one is under any illusions of Drax's chances. Star-Lord muses about abandoning his brash teammate and leaving but that's not how things work. Instead, he orders Jack Flag, Bug, Gamora, and Major Victory to help Drax. While his men go in for a rescue, Star-Lord asks Mantis to give him the big info on what the hell is going on.

How is Thanos back to the land of the living? Mantis tells him that she doesn't think Magus even knew about this. The Church had brought Thanos' cocoon to Sacrosanct believing it to be Adam Warlock. They never knew who was actually inside and, apparently, the cocoon lost importance when Magus came to rule them. In fact, Magus had left for the Fault before Thanos had been revived. There's also some recriminations going around about why Mantis and her team remained here after Thanos came back from the dead but, hello kettle. Star-Lord doesn't seem to be retreating right now either.

Peter also learns that Thanos is heavily shielded against telepathic assault. It looks like there's only one way that they're going to get out of this. Peter Quill walks up to Thanos and shouts to get the mad Titan's attention.

Star-Lord is carrying around that fractured Cosmic Cube. Since he never really used it earlier, it's still got one charge left. After Thanos is drawn in by the power of the Cube, Peter gives him one big blast.

It's not enough to kill the Titan but it knocks him unconscious. With his defenses down, Thanos is susceptible to telepathic assault. The three psychics contain his mind quickly. The team return to Knowhere with their prisoner. The fractured Cosmic Cube is now out of juice.

In 3010, the Council of Guardians of All Galaxies finishes listening to Peter Quill's report on this mission. Starhawk draws the conclusion. It was Thanos who was the great chronal error. Everything is going to be thrown back into chaos and only Star-Lord and the original Guardians of the Galaxy can stop it.

Back in the present, the Guardians are meeting in Starlin's Bar on Knowhere. It's a time to toast their fallen comrades. Phyla-Vell is dead. It's time to honor her with drink.

Rocket Raccoon and Star-Lord sit at the bar alone. They drink some more for those they've lost. Peter takes the deaths personally. He's the leader. It's what you do. Still, he knows that the Guardians of the Galaxy do important work that needs doing. And, hell, look what they just did. They captured Thanos. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. The lift their bottles one last time. This time, it's a toast to what the future holds.

Oh, if only they knew. As the issue closes, the final blurb says, simply, "End." It looks like the Guardians might not be making it to the other side of The Thanos Imperative. If not, this was still one of the best damn books on the stands. If you weren't reading it, I probably blame you if it doesn't come back. X(

Nah, no worries. We're cool. Just don't do it again!

ssm1.jpgSiege: Spider-Man #1
Writer: Brian Reed
Artist: Marco Santucci

In this issue, Venom eats some Asgardians and gets into a fight with Spider-Man. This battle ends up taking a ride into Broxton where the two Spideys fight in the streets. Ms. Marvel shows up and tears Mac out of the symbiote. The Venom symbiote attaches itself to Carol and the Spider-Man has to super-charge her with electricity so that she can separate from the alien. It's Venom vs. Spidey once more before Ms. Marvel gets back in the fight. The two heroes bat the Dark Avenger into a transport (and right into Siege: Embedded #3). That done, Ms. Marvel and Spider-Man talk some feelings over before she flies him back to the Asgard.

Do you want to know why this story is so cool? It's because it ties into so many Brian Reed books without even trying too hard. You get a follow up to Dark Reign: Sinister Spider-Man, a wink and nod to Reed's Ms. Marvel run, and even a blink-and-you-miss-it crossover with Siege: Embedded. Get ready for something pretty awesome. Right about now.

This issue takes place well before the fall of Asgard. The fight's still going hot and heavy. Mac Gargan knows the score, though. This time, they've gone too far. Norman Osborn is going down. He probably is as well. Until then, though, he's going to enjoy these last moments on the top of the heap. That means eating people. It turns out Asgardians are really tasty.

A page later and the end is nigh. Spider-Man (the real one) is looking for some pay back on everyone's favorite Sinister Spidey and he's leading with a punch to the face. Peter Parker isn't just upset that Gargan has been impersonating him. He also knows what Venom was up to during Sinister Spider-Man. Harrassing J. Jonah Jameson. Starting a gang war. Eating squirrels. There are some travesties that happened in the name of the Spider that are going to be hard to live down. The fact that the city loved Venom more than they've ever loved Spidey is just a part of that. It's a big part but let's let his ego alone for now and get on with the throwdown.

Spider-Man has never found battles with Venom to be an easy thing. The battleground of Asgard doesn't help matters. The two swing high throughout the city and eventually their battle takes them to the top of a HAMMER air vehicle. Venom grabs onto Spider-Man and the two plummet off the side of the ship and hit the streets of Broxton below.

It's a painful landing for both of them but since Parker was on the bottom, it takes him longer to recover. Venom has him by the throat by then. Fortunately, Spidey has some friends in high places. Ms. Marvel flies in and delivers a nice punch to Venom, separating the two Spider-Men.

Carol wonders what Spider-Man is doing fighting in Broxton when the battle is taking place in Asgard. Peter quips that he's more "street level" anyway and that he's more comfortable here then fighting in the city of the gods. Carol asks for tips on Venom since she's never faced him before and Spidey rattles off Venom's strengths and weaknesses. All the while, Mac is charging at Ms. Marvel. She's not paying him much attention.

At the last moment, Ms. Marvel spins around and does something that's not on the usual playbook.

Gargan's as stunned as Peter is. It's a wonder something like that hasn't happened earlier.

It also turns out to be a phenomenally bad idea. The symbiote decides to make a new friend and bond with Carol. There's nothing she can do to stop it. The fact that she has an emotional disconnect going with her memories doesn't help matters. Venom hasn't had this level of power that I can think of. The thing is drunk with power and using it to attack Spider-Man.

Mac Gargan is upset at having lost his symbiote. He's left in the street, naked, while his better half takes off to the skies with newfound power. Spidey tries leading it to the church tower so he can ring them bells but this isn't New York where they have actual working church bells. This church tower is empty. They probably just use church bell recordings to save some money. I know I would.

With the sonic attack cut off, Peter's not sure where to go next. Fortunately, he gets his clue from Ms. Marvel. She might not have control of the body but she's able to poke her head up out of Venom's chest to give the friendly neighborhood wall crawler a clue on how to free her. She just needs more power. That's something Spider-Man can provide.

Spidey kicks Venom off the tower and right back into a circuit breaker. Venom is shocked all over but most of this power goes directly into Ms. Marvel, who then has enough power to break free of the symbiote. It'll take her some time to get back into the game, though.

That's time that Venom uses well. The symbiote reforms around Mac Gargan. Spidey nearly kicks himself for not knocking the former Scorpion out during the confusion but it's not certain that something like that would do any good. The Venom symbiote could have forced Mac back into consciousness, after all.

Until Ms. Marvel gets her second wind, this is all Spider-Man. His first move is to pull out that stupid, stupid tongue that Venom's been sporting. Long time readers will know that I hate that tongue. It just seems like it would get in the way. It also pulls off pretty easily. Peter ends up throwing the thing back at Venom where it's absorbed into the symbiote and reforms but, for one shining moment, that stupid tongue was gone.

Spidey goes back into his list of complaints against the Sinister Spider-Man but it's all stuff we've already gone over, so no need to mention it again. Venom distracts Peter by saying he knows how Ms. Marvel feels about the wall crawler. Since they only went on the one date, Peter probably didn't think Carol thought any sort of feelings toward him besides comradery. The enticement of something more throws the web-spinner of his game enough that Venom gets a good sock in.

Which is all he'll get. Ms. Marvel is back in action and we're just about ready to get rid of a Dark Avenger. The New Avengers do this by playing an improvised game of baseball. Venom's the ball, swung by Spidey. Ms. Marvel's the batter using the front grill off of a Jeep as her bat. Venom goes back, back, WAY BACK and it's a home run!

Actually, he flies right into an oncoming HAMMER Transport Ship that is most likely carrying Ben Urich, Todd Keller, and Keller's media crew over in Siege: Embedded #3. You never see them, of course, but you know that Embedded is written by Brian Reed and Venom smashed into the HAMMER Transport Ship over in that book, too. You can connect those dots.

Spidey and Ms. Marvel enjoy their small victory. They compare notes on their Dark Avengers counterparts before Carol picks Peter up and carries him back to Asgard for the rest of the main event. Danvers asks if Parker was serious before when he said he thought he should stay on the streets and leave the avenging to the usual Avengers crowd. There probably was some truth to it but Spider-Man goes where he's needed. He's neurotic that way.

Ms. Marvel tells him that she likes him hanging with the big leaguers. Things get a little awkward when they go into their feelings. Bottom line: it's complicated. No duh. Like Peter would be allowed to date Carol Danvers long-term! The date issue was pretty cool, though.

Their flight to Asgard continues as their conversation continues about how they love each other and how they're going to get married during OMIT. But I made that whole last part up. Carol kind of likes Spider-Man. Time will tell if that's allowed to be followed up on. All I know is that it made some fun Siege action right here. Good times!

asm117.jpgThe Amazing Spider-Man #117
Writers: Stan Lee & Gerry Conway
Penciler: John Romita Sr

In this issue, Peter saves a crowded hall during a polital rally! Robert Raleigh, the candidate for mayor who's convention hall just came crashing down, blames this all on organized crime being against his campaign but it doesn't ring true to our favorite web-crawler. The Disrupter, the villain responsible for all of this, plans his next attacks and the next use of the Smasher! J Jonah Jameson puts all of his support behind Raleigh while Joe Robertson looks into the mayoral candidate's past. Spidey takes on criminals trying to stop a Raleigh fundraiser. Later on, Peter stops some criminals from burning down registration stands and meets the Disruptor for a quick battle. JJJ interviews Raleigh and tells him that Robbie is looking into his past. The Disruptor sends the Smasher to bring Robbie Robertson back to him.

This is the oddest placement for a Norman Osborn appearance because it forces me to do the middle chapter in a three-part story. I mean, I COULD give you the entire tale but I'm feeling pretty lazy right now so I'll just fill in the blanks where needed. What you might like to know is that this is a reprint of Spectacular Spider-Man magazine #1. I believe some of the action has been fleshed out with new artwork.

Our story begins at a political convention rally for mayoral candidate, Robert Raleigh. More to the point, it begins as the convention hall begins to collapse on top of the politically-minded attendees. Since Peter Parker, his girlfriend, Gwen Stacy, and various other friends are inside, Peter gets suckered into that whole "great power/great responsibility" thing and has to save some lives.

This would be easier if he was able to sneak off and turn into Spider-Man but that's just not in the cards for the evening. Peter only has time to take off his shoes for better wall crawling before he's needed topside to stop bits of the building caving in. Parker webs up falling debris and gives everyone the time they need to escape. Now, he just has to do the same before someone figures out his secret ID. Fashioning a large web shield, Peter covers himself up and exits the building.

Outside, the media has already arrived and is interviewing a determined Robert Raleigh. The political candidate blames this and earlier attempts on his life on organized crime. Raleigh says that he's campaigning to keep the streets safe and the criminals of the world don't want to see him in the office of mayor. These attacks only strengthen his resolve. The long-haired, hippy reporter ends his broadcast by pretty much declaring Raleigh the right man for the job.

By this point, Peter has slipped his shoes back on and rejoined the crowd below. While he looks for Gwen, he questions Raleigh's story. Sure, the mayoral candidate has been attacked. There's no question of that. What he finds peculiar is how public these attacks have been. After all, if it was organized crime, the mob would most likely just make the man disappear. Further, nothing in Raleigh's political agenda seems to put him directly in the sight of criminals. Raleigh is pretty moderate in his leanings.

Finding Gwen, the two take their leave with Mary-Jane in tow. J. Jonah Jameson, who also attended the rally, demands that Parker start taking pictures but Peter simply tells the Daily Bugle publisher that he's not working tonight. He might be on salary but this is his night off. As the three walk away, Gwen makes a joke about Peter being covered in spider webs but since they all are, it's not like she's figured out his secret identity.

Elsewhere, the Disruptor frets that tonight's actions just weren't good enough. While he talks big on the phone, telling his men that they should have killed Robert Raleigh, don't you believe him for a moment. This guy talks a big game and seems to genuinely want the death of the moderate mayoral candidate but it just simply isn't true.

There's a reason you might not recognize the Disruptor. He hasn't made any appearances after this story for a couple reasons. One: he's going to end up dead at the end of the next issue. Two: he's a one-trick pony who only wants the death of a certain political campaigner. Three: because he IS that campaigner. The Disruptor is Robert Raleigh. He's sending all of these criminals against his real identity to strengthen his polling numbers and help him get elected in a landslide.

He's also pretty hardcore about it. I mean, if Spider-Man hadn't shown up, he'd have a convention hall full of dead voters. Maybe that was the plan. He certainly doesn't think of Spider-Man as his political savior. He's also had a mad scientist build up a muscle-bound threat to attack his campaign: the Smasher.

Part of me thinks that the Disruptor might have a splitting personality. In that mask, he does act like the overblown super villain that he's playing. Robert Raleigh is sort of a blowhard but he definitely doesn't do his best Doctor Doom impression. When he activates the Smasher, Raleigh refuses to listen to the mad scientist's instructions for the control mechanism until Smasher goes out of control. Then, the Disruptor demands to be shown how the remote control works.

Once the Smasher is back in his docile state, the Disruptor continues to shout threats at the unmoving killing machine. The mad scientist says that they only need a few more tweaks until the monster is again ready to be unleashed.

The whole reason we're here is because of Norman Osborn so maybe we should get to Ozzy's quick appearance next. At the home of J Jonah Jameson, Osborn and Robbie Robertson have stopped by for a visit and a smoke. Jameson tells his friends that he's supporting Robert Raleigh as much as possible and that means putting the full force of his newspaper behind the political figure.

Norman doesn't think this means much. After all, Jameson has been wrong about political candidates before. Besides, Raleigh never gets into any specifics with his campaign. He's basically a talking face that tells the public what they'd like to hear without getting into any specifics. Norman Osborn won't vote for the man until he hears some details.

Robbie echoes a lot of that and, as a consumate newsman, believes that Raleigh deserves more investigation. The candidate seems to have come out of nowhere. Robbie plans on reading up on the man to see if everything is on the up and up. These aren't the words JJJ wanted to hear. Jolly Jonah just wanted to get their support. He doesn't need facts to support his feelings about the next mayor of New York City. All he needs are his instincts which have... never... failed him.

Robbie is just as disappointed as the rest of us that Jameson got suckered in by soundbites instead of substance.

OK, back to Spider-Man because it's about time Peter swung out in his super-hero suit this issue. He's got the election on his brain which is pretty appropriate since his next actions will involve stopping a bunch of criminals from disrupting a political fundraiser. If you're curious, this fundraiser is for Raleigh's campaign. The mob DOES seem to be paying a particular interest in Robert Raleigh.

Whatever Raleigh's motivation or the mob, Spider-Man easily beats this pack of hooligans and then swings away. He's got more important things to do and this time they have nothing to do with politics.

His dear old Aunt May is due for a phone call. Peter swings back to his apartment and gives her a call. This was a wierd time for May Parker. She had fallen madly in love with Doctor Octopus and no-one could convince her that Otto was actually a villain. Even the prison sentence wasn't enough. May stayed loyal and kept living in Octavius' home where she was surrounded by Doc Ock's "business associates." None of this made Peter particularly happy. Still, sometimes you just can't tell people what to think and you let them figure things out on their own.

Or don't. I don't think May ever really got that her fiance was Doctor Octopus until YEARS later.

Hanging up, Peter mopes around a bit before he and his roommate (Harry Osborn) take off to another political rally (and voter registration!) for Robert Raleigh. While Peter isn't sold on the mayoral candidate, everyone else around him is. Harry, Gwen, and Mary-Jane all think Raleigh is the greatest ever. It's only Peter Parker who thinks the man is too good to be true.

During the rally, an armored car races in and starts firing tear gas all over the place. This not only stings people's eyes, it covers for Raleigh's switch into the Disruptor. The Disruptor demands Robert Raleigh which, of course, is impossible. He sends his men into the crowd wearing gas masks. Their mission: to destroy all those precious voter registration cards.

Enter: The Spider-Man. Peter swings in and instead of stopping the criminals from burning the registration stands, he goes straight to the top criminal. It seems Spidey's off his game, though. Disruptor kicks him with a steel-toe and leaves his gang to fight the wall-crawler while he makes his getaway. Spidey doesn't attempt to follow the retreating vehicle. After all, these cons still want to destroy the voter registration booths and Peter must let freedom ring.

Later that day, J Jonah Jameson has set up a very special interview with Robert Raleigh. He walks in just in time to hear a scripted speech where some "mob hoodlum" is threatening the mayoral candidate and Raleigh talks some smack right back. JJJ is convinced that this is the man for him. He tell Robert Raleigh that there's nothing to fear. Not from the mob and CERTAINLY not from Robbie Robertson who just so happens to be looking into Raleigh's background. That last bit causes Raleigh to fumble just a bit but it's more interesting to the departing mob hood.

Even later still, the Disruptor is back in his evil lab looking in on his mad scientist and the Smasher. It looks like the Smasher is ready to go to work and the villain gives his killing machine it's marching orders.

The Smasher will capture Robbie Robertson. Dead or alive!

The end of Siege is coming!  See ya real soon!

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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