The end of Siege is nigh.
Today, we check out Siege #4, Siege: Embedded #4, Dark Avengers #16, The New Avengers Finale #1, Avengers: The Initiative #35, The Sentry: Fallen Sun #1, The New Avengers: Luke Cage #2, The Heroic Age: Prince of Power #1, and Blast to the Past for The Amazing Spider-Man #122. Enjoy and spread the word!
Yes, I took a little vacation just to rest up for this main event serving of awesome.
Looking to read up on everything from Secret Invasion to Siege? Check no further than this link right HERE .
Without further ado, let's hear it for the end of Siege:
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Olivier Coipel
In this issue:
• Loki reacquires the Norn Stones and charges up our heroes for their battle with the Void.
• The Void senses that Loki is behind this massive power surge and attacks the god of mischief, tearing Loki apart.
• Norman makes his first escape attempt and is stopped by Steve Rogers.
• While Thor delivers a godly beat down, Iron Man takes control of the HAMMER Helicarrier and smashes it into the Void.
• Osborn makes his second escape attempt and is stopped by Volstagg.
• The Void has changed back to Bob Reynolds and begs for death.
• After Thor refuses, Bob switches back to the Void and demands death.
• Thor kills the Void and delivers his body into the sun.
• Steve drags Norman Osborn back in to join the rest of their Dark Reign prisoners. He tells Bucky that, once again, Steve is stepping down as Cap.
• President Obama appoints Steve Rogers to the position of America's Top Cop and also throws out the Superhuman Registration Act.
• Stark gets Avengers Tower back and Thor drops a piece of Asgardian junk on top of it.
• Steve Rogers begins to assemble his Avengers.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE .
The big one. Are you ready? Good. We're going right now.
You may be slightly confused by Loki's motivations. This is probably because Brian Michael Bendis (the writer of Siege) and Kieron Gillen (the writer of Thor) have different interpretations on his motivations for starting the Siege. Gillen's reasons are spelled out most clearly in Siege: Loki. In that one-shot, Loki wants the city of Asgard completely wiped out and even after the city falls, he is happy with the results. Bendis doesn't entirely contradict that line of thinking but it's clear that his Loki is awestruck by the Void's power and believes that he's carried things too far. This was all for the good of Asgard, after all. Loki was just doing what he thought was right.
He just never expected the Void/Sentry to be this powerful.
The dialogue boxes show that Loki is begging the forgiveness of Odin. This is for no-one's benefit but our own so it's likely that these are Loki's true feelings on the issue... unless he's lying to himself which, y'know, could happen. Regardless, the god of mischief is looking for a way to turn this around and call out a win. To that end, he's going to need some champions to defeat the Void.
Remember those Norn Stones that the Hood has? Loki lead Parker Robbins and Madame Masque on a "quest" for the Stones so that the Hood would have a power source. The Norn Stones choose their owner and, for a time, that was Parker. Loki calls out to Odin for posession of the Stones once more. We already saw this scene play out in New Avengers #64. The Norn Stones leave the Hood. His Syndicate has lost their super charge.
Loki doesn't really get that creative with the Stones. He just powers up the good guys just like the Hood powered up the bad guys. The only visible difference is that the Avengers have a rainbow aura effect surrounding them.
This super charge couldn't have come at a better time. The Avengers and their allies had already lost the fight against the Void before Loki did his magic power up. While Loki was having a private talk with his adopted father, we get a look at the Avengers as they fall. Thor and Sif are writhing on the ground as the Void's black energy swarms around them. Captain America is still standing but that Void blackness is all around him. The same black spider lines are striking Ms. Marvel in the face and back. Iron Man is surrounded by the black energy and it looks like his defenses are nearly spent.
Cue Will Smith saying something like "I ain't heard no fat lady."
The good guys are back up on their feet and are hitting their second wind. With the super charge, these guys are feeling like a million bucks. With supreme confidence, they begin their counter attack on the Void.
Which is something to behold. The Void is a lot like the Sentry in that you can't beat him. Nick Fury warned his team of Secret Warriors about facing the Sentry and that boiled down to "don't do it or you'll die." With the super charge, our heroes can actually hurt this monster. Even Cap's shield seems to be doing damage which answers my question about Steve Roger's power boost. It's definitely beyond peak human strength right there.
On the ground, we get another scene right out of New Avengers #64. This time, it's the one where the Hood and Madame Masque vacate the battlefield. Griffon and one of the Blood Brothers are present but we don't get to see them get shot down this time. Just go over to New Avengers to see this scene played out in full.
Back at the main event, we're learning that even super charged super-heroes aren't capable of downing the Void. Oh, sure, they're hurting the monster. They just aren't dropping him to the mat. Thor even hits the Void with the largest bolt of lightning that has ever existed and the Void just keeps on coming. In fact, the big bad has just realized what's powering up our heroes. This all has the fainted aroma of mischief around it. Maybe it's time to eliminate that power up.
Thor and Iron Man are flying into the fight when they notice that Loki is in trouble. Our favorite trouble maker is the focus of the Void's attack. Black tendrils engulf Loki as he rages in defiance. A blast of the Norn Stones is scene but it's unclear if this is an attack on the Void or if this is still the Stones charging up the Avengers. Either way, it's not enough to save Thor's second favorite brother.
Before Loki is torn in two, he apologizes to the god of thunder. The final strike against Loki is like burning lightning. With the god of mischief dead, the Norn Stones stop doing their thing. Everyone's back to their normal power levels.
And you'll be wondering about Loki's fate, right? If you read Siege: Loki, you'll know that a certain deal was struck that keeps Loki from entering Hel. He's free of death but he just died. Makes you wonder where he'll end up, eh? Loki also gave Mephisto control over the Dísir (the Valkyries of Odin's dad, Bor, who were cursed to only eat the flesh of dead Asgardians not found in Asgard or Hel). Wouldn't it be interesting if Mephisto got a hold of Loki after death? Sure, it probably won't happen but it'd be a nice play for the Marvel devil.
Now, the most important part of this battle is staying alive. Without the extra burst of powers and abilities, very few people think this fight is winnable. Guys like Thor don't care. He just watched his brother get torn in half by a monster. Even though he's not Loki's biggest fan, stuff like that needs to be avenged.
While Thor's raining down lightning, Norman Osborn thinks this is a fine time to get out of rubble strewn town.
Which ain't happening on Captain America's watch. Norman runs right into Steve Rogers' patriotic shield. Ozzy's still got Goblin battle paint covering his face so we know his mind isn't exactly centered. Still, the Director of HAMMER kept the Sentry under control for quite a time. Steve demands to know how to get Robert Reynold back on a leash. Osborn has no good answer. In fact, he's sort of a doom sayer here. That's no good at all.
It looks like this win is going to be all about the Avengers doing what they do. Iron Man asks Thor to move the fight out of Asgard and into the fields around the city. His next move will need a lack of people around.
Tony Stark isn't in a current armor. He's wearing the damn Classic Armor that gets pulled out for these type of events even though it's been out of date for the last two and a half decades (our time). Still, Stark is a wizard when it comes to tech and is able to pull some tricks in this suit that would blow your mind. For example, last issue, he shut down the Iron Patriot armor. In this issue, he's taking control of the HAMMER Helicarrier.
The Helicarrier is already dying. Regular military aircraft delivered fatal blows while our heroes were down in Asgard defending territory. Because of that, it's mostly evacuated of personel by the time Iron Man gets his hands on it. He sends up a courtesy message up to Victoria Hand, telling her to finish up the desertion in the next ten seconds because this Helicarrier is going down. NOW.
Hand races to the exit, escaping just in time. The HAMMER Helicarrier, which we all knew was going to be destroyed anyway, plummets in a controlled course directly towards the Void.
This explosion puts Thor's lightning attacks to shame. I mean, this thing must have been made of bombs the way it goes up.
No matter where you are on this battlefield, you're basically forced into a protective stance while being bombarded by a lot of glowing. Osborn makes a second attempted escape while Captain America does his best to shield out all that brightness. Ozzy grabs a rock and brings it down hard on the head of America's favorite patriot.
This gives him a nice headstart on the Sentinel of Liberty but not on Volstagg. It looks like the giant Asgardian was just waiting for the chance to subdue the former Green Goblin. This isn't a death scene, though. Big V doesn't even take the scabbard off his sword when he whacks Osborn in the face with it. It's sort of poetic justice that Osborn and Loki used Volstagg as a scapegoat for this entire operation and it's Volstagg that finally takes Norman down.
So the big question: is the fight done? I mean, this IS the Void, after all.
The answer is: No, but it's close.
Iron Man and Thor meet at the edge of the blast area and do a little verbal high fiving before going in to see how this is going to end. They're joined by both Captain Americas, Ms. Marvel, and a few others that I can't clearly make out. When they get to the middle of the devastation, they find Bob Reynolds. He's naked with a few scratches here and there but, otherwise, took the damage pretty well.
It's hard to tell with Bob. He's crazy, afterall. When he asks if he did all this damage, you wonder if he really doesn't know how this went down. Iron Man confirms that he DID, in fact, go crazy and nearly killed everyone. It's a little iffy on the time frame here because Tony doesn't really remember most of his time after getting his Extremis suit. That means he probably remembers some of his time with the Sentry on the New Avengers but his whole time in Mighty Avengers and as Director of SHIELD is gone. Still, there's a lot of "older" history that these two probably share from all the ret-conning done with the Sentry. Let's just pretend these guys know each other.
Bob puts his head down and begs for the Avengers to kill him but we all know that these guys aren't going to do that now. Bob's defenseless, after all. No, Thor tells the Golden Guardian of Good that what is going to happen now is his arrest and, later, a trial. There will be payment for what happened here and it won't be as simple as death.
But no-one really understands what's going on yet. Bob isn't really begging for his own sake. He's begging for theirs. Soon he's reverted back to the Void and the battle nearly begins all over again. In fact, the Void's tentacles have already grabbed the Avengers in one strike. The only difference this time is that Bob wants to die. He's holding back and waiting for them to kill him but there probably isn't a lot of time before that thought is gone and the battle is lost.
Thor complies, delivering one last explosive lightning bolt down on the Void. All that is left is a crackling skeleton.
You might be thinking to yourself: "Hey, this has happened before. Didn't they kill the Sentry, like, fifty times in Dark Avengers only to watch him come back every time?" The difference this time is that the Sentry/Void/Bob WANTED to die. I think he had to want it to happen for it to actually work. So... he's currently dead and we're not likely to see him return for a while. Maybe a year or two. Give or take. You know how this works.
Thor gathers up the remains in his cape. While he's doing that, the Sentry's Watchtower that has been on top of Avengers Tower for most of the New Avengers run fades from existance. The god of thunder flies off into space with Bob Reynold's body and lets it drop into the sun. It's a fitting end for the Sentry since that was his favorite place to drop bad guys.
Back in Asgard, the heroes have been busy gathering up the less-than-good-guys. The U-Foes feature prominently in a line-up of ne'er-do-wells. This is also a nice scene since the U-Foes are the dudes that actually caused all those deaths at Soldier Field. Victoria Hand is also there but she is adamant that she was serving her country.
It looks like Captain America has been out gathering up Norman Osborn. Volstagg had him pretty conked out. When Steve drops him on the ground, the former Top Cop is still unconscious. Rogers makes a speech about making sure Norman faces justice and a trial and all that fun stuff but it's his declaration that he's not the Captain America we're looking for that sticks with us even more.
Yes, it looks like Steve isn't returning to the red, white, and blue uniform of Cap anytime soon. We all knew that but it needed to be said since he's been wearing it for the last four issues. Heck, he was wearing it when he was watching television back in Siege #1.
We all know what happens next. Steve Rogers has a meeting with the President of the United States of America.
It looks like there's a new sherriff in town and he likes to wear patriotic colors. Things are going to be different under Steve. My thought was that he was going to reactivate SHIELD but we'll learn soon enough that his agenda is completely different from Nick Fury or Tony Stark.
Also tacked right on this ending is the end of the Superhuman Registration Act. It's been thrown out. Place your legal arguments on how that happens in a neat explanation, fold it up into thirds, and throw it in the garbage. It doesn't really matter. We're facing a new Heroic Age and we're not going to let actual politics get in our way.
It's time for the after party. All of our heroes meet on top of Avengers Tower for a good old party. It seems the good people of the United States government have given Avengers Tower back to Tony Stark. Again, don't ask me why. Maybe we aren't in a recession anymore and can afford to give ex-billionaires back their real estate for nothing. The point is: Hey kids, comics.
Tony gives a pretty nice speech even though his joke about stubborness is not well recieved. He's just happy to have everyone back together again after that Civil War mess. Heroes being heroes is a nice change from everyone hating on Iron Man, afterall. Tony's ready to sit down with everyone and figure out how they fit into this brand new day.
But that'll have to wait. The Asgardians have shown up to drink beer and drop off their junk. I mean, to say thanks and leave a token of their alliance with the world. They DO say thanks. After all, the battle might have been lost without the help of the Avengers and company. The sealing of their alliance is with the watchtower of Asgard. It is placed on top of Avengers Tower with a little help from Heimdall and the rainbow bridge. This is a nice gesture and all but it still feels (to me) like they're dropping off a broken down piece of their home. The fact that it no longer functions as a gateway for the rainbow bridge just brings that thought home.
But whatever. If Thor wants to drop a crumbling piece of Asgard on top of a skyscraper in New York, who's gonna stop him?
Thor also pledges his loyalty to the Avengers and promises to join them if they should but ask. He might even have winked when saying it. :)
Steve Rogers has arrived and is glad to see that Thor is willing to join his new team. Because there's going to be quite a few Avengers teams forming out of this event and Thor's going to be a part of it. So's everyone else. Avengers Assemble.
Siege: Embedded #4
Writer: Brian Reed
Artist: Chris Samnee
In this issue:
• Sif pulls Ben Urich out of the wreckage of Asgard. Todd Keller survives, too.
• The two get into a fight before noticing the Void. Keller runs away.
• Urich continues rescue efforts with the help of the local Asgardians.
• Will Stern crashes his news van and then hitches a ride with Volstagg.
• Ben Urich heads for the high ground to witness the big battle.
• As the events of Siege #4 play out, Will, Ben, and Volstagg are reunited just in time for big V to shield them from the crash landing of the HAMMER Helicarrier.
• Volstagg knocks Osborn out. Everyone poses dramatically for the invisible camera.
• Ben visits his wife's grave.
• Todd Keller supports the new Top Cop.
• The Asgardian Watchtower gets dropped on top of Avengers Tower.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE .
I know that this would probably hold true with most people involved in Siege but Ben Urich has had one hell of a day. He was threatened by Venom before his ship crash landed in Asgard. Then the city toppled around him.
While others have been killed during the fall of Asgard, Ben Urich enjoys protected character status and gets to live even though he's a puny human. Most of the dead are Asgardians, after all. He's pulled from the wreckage by another protected character, Sif. She asks him what he's doing here and Ben starts explaining that he's a mild-mannered reporter for a major metropolitan newspaper (actually an online newspaper but why quibble with the classics?).
Urich doesn't even finish this explanation before Todd Keller also emerges from the debris. Ben just stops talking to Sif and walks over to Keller. They both are a bit surprised to see that the other survived.
Their conversation is cut short when Ben realizes that there are more people buried in the destruction of Asgard. He runs away from Todd Keller and tries to save some lives. He asks his fellow reporter to help but Keller refuses. He's not here to help supposed gods live. He's here to call for their destruction. Ben Urich is so mad that he takes a swing at Todd. Not used to the violence, the blow hurts Urich more than it does Keller.
I've said it before but I'll say it again: I was wrong about Todd Keller's character arc. I thought he'd be the Osborn supporter to grow disillusioned with his hero and join the other side. Instead, he's remained true to form and stayed a staunch supporter of Norman Osborn.
He's also not going to sit quietly when someone hits him in the face. Sure, it looks like Ben got the worse end of the deal but that doesn't mean it's not time to lawyer up and litigate. Moments after Keller starts his tirade about suing, something much more terrifying distracts him.
Hey Kids! It's the Void! The big final battle of Siege is happening. Todd Keller sees this and runs away as fast as his little legs can take him. Ben Urich pauses and stares for a moment before moving back to rescue efforts.
People are still trapped in the crumbling ruins of Asgard. Ben directs the Asgardians in an attempt to save some lives and get the wounded out of the battle zone. All the while, more and more heroes are joining the fight against the Void. Ben looks back and sees them gathering. This still doesn't look like a fight they can win.
In Broxton, members of the media are covering this battle from a comfortable distance. It's also where we'll catch up with our friend Will Stern. He's driving his news van right into the action because comfortable distances just aren't his style. OK, even he thinks he's crazy for driving into Asgard at a time like this. No worries. That news van isn't going to get him there, anyway. He swerves to miss a truck and drives right into a lamppost. Well, it looks like he's not getting his deposit back on that vehicle.
While Will is kicking his now useless transportation, Volstagg shows up to give him alternate options on getting to Asgard.
In Asgard, Ben has finished whatever life saving he had planned for the day and is back in full reporter mode. Bereft of any tools of the trade, Urich is doing his best to remember what he sees so that he'll be able to put it to paper later. He has no clue what the heroes are attacking and only hopes that he'll be alive long enough to figure it out for his story. He chases down the battle and ends up right in the middle of things.
By this point, the heroes are all super charged on the Norn Stone juice. This is a battle that Urich can barely even fathom and here he is, right next to the action.
So are Will Stern and Volstagg. Volstagg stole some HAMMER speederbike and brought out cast back together for these final moments. Will gives Ben a big hug. Stern thought his friend dead so this reunion is a great, happy surprise.
The pleasantries end soon enough. While they've been comparing mental notes, the battle with the Void has moved to end game. That means the HAMMER Helicarrier is about to come crashing down. Will tries to catch the action on his camera but they're just too close for comfort. There's not even time to reach a safe distance away. Volstagg just grabs them both and uses his own great mass as a sheild for the coming explosion.
We get four panels as the Helicarrier smashes into the Void and lights up the landscape. Then, we regain focus on Volstagg and his friends. It looks like everyone survived. As Ben Urich and Will Stern collect themselves, Volstagg draws his sword and bounds off into the dusty background.
Ben and Will follow just in time to witness the defeat of Norman Osborn. It is, again, by Volstagg's hands. While Volstagg's sword is out of it's scabbard this time, big V uses the hilt to drop Ozzy into unconsciousness.
Ben only wishes that the dude with the crazy Goblin paint on was still conscious enough to partake in an interview. Will captures Ben and Norman with his camera and jokes that they should just do the interview this way and Stern will voice Osborn off-screen. Ben actually lets out a laugh before declining.
It turns out Norman Osborn is no longer the story, anyway. The new story is how a group of heroes banded together to fight against the crazy plans of a man who was given far more power than he ever should have. As our heroes pose for an invisible camera, Ben Urich provides the voice over work for the scene. The good guys have won. The Dark Reign, which Ben gave a name to back in Secret Invasion: Frontline #5, is over. The Superhuman Registration Act has been repealed. Good wins. Evil loses. Fade to black.
We cut to a bit after the end of the Siege of Asgard to Ben Urich back in New York. He's visiting his wife's grave and reading his latest story to her.
It's still not finished. Urich has writer's block again but this time it's because he's in such a good mood that he doesn't know what to write. All in all, Urich is positive that the future's going to be all right.
All that's left is the rest of the aftermath. Let's look in on what Will Stern is doing. Stern left the Siege of Asgard and decided that it was time to get back into real journalism. He came to work at Frontline and it looks like he's working on a story about the Lizard. An image from the Amazing Spider-Man "Shed" arc is on his computer screen.
Todd Keller went back to his television show and continued to be a douche. This time, though, he chose Steve Rogers to be his role model for all that is good and right in the world. This doesn't mean he turned a page in his own understanding of the world. It just means Norman was out so someone had to be in. Ben hopes that Steve's character will have a better affect on the impressionable newsman than the Green Goblin.
Volstagg went back to Chicago to clean up the mess that he still holds himself responsible for starting.
Ben walks the streets of Manhattan and can't help but feel the hope and change in the air. Kids are dressing up as the real Avengers. Random strangers are smiling. The sun is shining through the smog. It's a good day. Ben knows that the next crisis is probably just around the corner but he's trying very hard to remain optimistic about the future in the Age of Heroes.
He looks up in the sky just in time to see the Asgardian Watchtower arrive on top of Avengers Tower via Rainbow Bridge. He's enthusiastic about what's going to happen next. He hopes you all are too. ;)
Dark Avengers #16
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mike Deodato Jr.
In this final issue:
• Norman Osborn ends up in Ryker's Island Maximum Security Penitentiary in the Raft.
• The previous day, the Dark Avengers are arrested even when two of them try their best at escaping.
• Victoria Hand demands a lawyer.
• Daken kills some soldiers, blows up a building, and escapes.
• Thor brings Phobos the accoutrements of Ares.
• Steve Rogers meets with Victoria Hand and gives her a weekend's vacation.
• Norman is brought into his cell by armored prison guards, Iron Man, and Thor.
• Ozzy talks to the Goblin.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE .
Everybody pays. Except for Daken.
Before this issue hit, Ares and Sentry have already died. Two Dark Avengers are gone even though Ares ended up on the right side before he was killed.
The new day begins with Norman Osborn, former Director of HAMMER, arriving at his new home: the Raft. It's part of Ryker's Island Maximum Security Penitentiary. It's where they put the super villains. He gets off his helicopter ride and is led up to Steve Rogers by armored guards. Iron Man and Thor are also present.
Steve tells him a little bit about his new home. He'll be the sole occupant of Sub-Basement Level Seven. Steve Rogers is here on personal request by the President.
Now, let's head back one day to the end of the Siege of Asgard. Remember that scene in Siege #4 where Nick Fury and the heroes arrested the Dark Avengers, U-Foes, and members of the Syndicate? Let's expand on that scene. For once, everything plays out exactly as it does in Seige #4. The dialogue is the same and everything. Only the fact that James Barnes already has the shield betrays the fact that continuity glitches happen.
Steve Rogers shows up with Norman Osborn. Ozzy still has his Goblin face paint on and it's clear to his men that the crazy is in full force. After Cap gives his little spiel about how Norman will face the American people in a trial, things happen that didn't happen in the main book. Namely, Dark Ms. Marvel and Hawkeye decide to escape. Moonstone makes the first attempt and is quickly pursued by the real Ms. Marvel. Bullseye follows up by leaping to his feet and intercepting Cap's shield before it can hit the escaping Karla Sofen.
Karla gets in one last hit on her good doppleganger before both she and Lester are overtaken by Iron Man and Luke Cage respectively. Their escape attempt has met with failure.
The Sinister Spider-Man and Victoria Hand didn't make a move during all of this. Mac doesn't place very prominently in this issue. In fact, except for acknowledging that he's arrested by being in these panels, Venom doesn't get one word in.
Victoria, on the other hand, gets her say before being arrested. She gives her identity and asks for a lawyer. Captain America (Steve Rogers) tells her that he knows who she is but leaves it at that. Ms. Hand looks just a bit concerned to have fallen into Steve Rogers' radar.
Dark Wolverine was left in Broxton. Daken keeps to the shadows as the town fills with regular military. The Army has shown up and is busy arresting HAMMER Agents by bulk. Martial Law has been declared until the situation in Broxton has been brought under control.
SPIDER-MAN! He's plotting against him! He's always been trying to bring him down! Ozzy sees a vision of Spidey and lunges at the apparition. As the ghostly form passes through his body, memories explode in his brain. He remembers it all. The Green Goblin is back.
As the soldiers begin searching buildings, one of them walks right into Daken's hiding place. He doesn't even get to face his attacker before getting a claw in his neck.
Daken exits the building wearing the soldier's uniform. He's aided by the confusion going on in the street. Telling a group of soldiers that they've been ordered to the movie theater, Dark Wolverine finds a grenade belt in their jeep and throws it at a nearby building. The building blows up as the Dark Avenger drives off in the Army Jeep.
Daken escapes scott free and had fun doing it.
Phobos and Nick Fury meet Thor on the top of Avengers Tower. Thor is here to give the son of Ares all that was of value of his father's. That would be Ares' helmet and battle axe. Thor tells Alex that his father died well and in battle. It's the way the god of war would have liked to have gone out.
Phobos already killed a lot of people to honor the death of his father. He cut through multitudes of Secret Service Agents when he stormed the White House. This was over in Siege: Secret Warriors and it's not mentioned here.
Alex has no illusions that Ares was a great hero. In fact, he knows that his dad was sort of a jerk. He wasn't the greatest father a kid could ask for but they loved each other. Thor asks if Phobos wants to be taken to New Olympus but the god of fear declines. Thor is pleased.
The god of thunder offers some advice to the kid before flying off. It's all about how to live after losing your father and it's something that Thor had to go through just a while back. When he's gone, Nick tells Alex that this is exactly why Phobos didn't join them in the Siege. Alex thinks he could have saved his father but Fury tells him the timing was all wrong. Ares was dead before the Avengers even got there.
Ms. Victoria Hand has a private talk with Steve Rogers who is now going by "Captain Rogers." Steve isn't dressed in his new Super Soldier suit yet but he's getting there. The current look is basically just missing the star and stripes. It could also be more blue.
Anyway, this meeting is being held because Steve doesn't get Ms. Hand. He understands Norman Osborn. The Dark Avengers are all sussed out. He just doesn't get how a SHIELD accountant got in the position of Deputy Director of HAMMER. He's read her files and knows her philosophy on national defense. She just doesn't fit into the Norman Osborn vision of the future.
Victoria doesn't apologize. She admits that she was taken in by Norman Osborn's personality and his agenda. She agreed with how he planned on policing the nation. Her reports even show that she was trying to get him psychiatric help. Hand was working on the problem but couldn't solve it fast enough before everything fell apart. She admits to having failed her country.
Steve gives her a hard look then tells her how much he disagrees with everything she thinks is right. Nevertheless, she's a patriot who served her country. Maybe she was more loyal to Norman Osborn than she should have been and we could go into some of the more questionable decisions she's made during the Dark Reign but... well, accidents happen right? Whoops?
Rogers gives Victoria the weekend to get her head together. He tells her it would be a good idea to call up her parents. After that, she's going back to work.
Steve leaves the room. Victoria is left alone, stunned. Looks like she's not going to jail, afterall.
Norman Osborn is led through the Raft to his lonely cell on Sub-Basement Level Seven.
After giving him a solid glare, Thor and Iron Man leave with the Guards. It's a dark cell. That may be cruel and unusual punishment or maybe it's just night time. Or... maybe it's just how Norman Osborn sees the world. Dark Avengers has always been, um, dark.
When Ozzy is all alone, someone starts talking to him in a mocking voice. The voice tells him that he REALLY knows how to mess up a good thing. I mean, this isn't just FAIL. This is OMEGA LEVEL FAIL. Norman remains adamant that he was right and that he did the right thing. The world needed Norman Osborn to stop it from destroying itself. Because that's what will happen. These super-hero saviors will create a cataclysm that puts the Stamford Incident to shame. Norman just wanted to prevent that fatal error by being proactive.
Norman lists off the dangers that the world faces which pretty much sums up his entire Dark Reign- The List event. Mutants will conquer us. Hulk will smash us. Punisher will kill us all. Doom will rule us. The heroes will try to fix something that they have no understanding on. Norman could have saved us all.
If only the Green Goblin would have left him alone.
And now we see that he's been talking to his darker half. The Green Goblin, or a very demonic version of Ozzy's alter ego, is standing across from him in the cell. The Goblin mocks Norman further before the former Iron Patriot tells him to leave. The Green Goblin can't. He's gotta stay where his mind is, after all.
Osborn drops his head as the Green Goblin's laughter rattles around in his brain.
The New Avengers Finale #1
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencilers: Bryan Hitch & Stuart Immonen
In this issue:
• Madame Masque asks her father, Count Nefaria for a favor.
• Jessica Jones-Cage watches as the whole Siege is covered on television.
• She and Luke Cage share a television conversation before Luke gets back to work.
• Steve Rogers is called to the White House.
• The Syndicate are taken into custody.
• The New Avengers track down John King who leads them straight to the Hood.
• The New Avengers attack Nefaria and company before Parker Robbins can get new powers.
• Wolverine rejoins the team just in time to help take down Count Nefaria. Ms. Marvel delivers the final blow.
• The New Avengers drop off their captured villains to Maria Hill.
• Steve updates the team on the new national status. The New Avengers have won.
• We enjoy a slide show through the history of the New Avengers as Luke Cage tells us how much he'd like to take his baby to the park.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE .
The Syndicate is over! Finally! It seems like the New Avengers have been fighting the Syndicate every issue since the end of Civil War. And Skrulls. Super Gangsters and Skrulls.
Madame Masque and the Hood made their escape from Asgard in New Avengers #65. They left the Oklahoma long behind and ended up in Los Angeles. It is here that they'll make their final bid for power.
Whitney Frost has one last person who might be able to help them. She basically puts her hat in hand and comes asking for her father's help. This is not an easy thing for her to do. Her relationship with her blood father is more than strained. Count Nefaria may have trained her in the ways of the underworld but Whitney wasn't raised by her dad. The care of her daughter was left to Nefaria's employee, Byron Frost. So their relationship is complicated. She even helped the Avengers defeat Nefaria the last time he tried to broker power.
So when Madame Masque shows up begging for help, this could go badly. She brings up the fact that they have lots of money to pay for his help but he scoffs at that. She's his only child. He's always wanted to be there for her. But the money will be his, too. Money's great.
Jessica Jones-Cage has been watching television as the Siege has been happening. She could really give a damn about most of the details. She's concerned about her husband, Luke Cage. She doesn't know what's going on with him and the TV just seems to be mocking her by giving her everything but information on her other half.
Finally, Cage gives her a call using a borrowed cell phone. The good news is that he's alive. The bad news is that Asgard has been totalled. The iffy news is they don't know what's going on or if they'll end up arrested. He IS calling on a USARMY cell phone so they've got some level of respect going on.
Jessica wants him to get his tail home but Luke can't leave until this thing is finished. That's what happens when you're married to a super-hero. Even one that has no costume. Luke says his good buys by telling his wife that he loves her and gets back to the business of being an Avenger.
The New Avengers are taking a little breather while they figure out what's going on. Nick Fury and the Secret Warriors have already taken off. The New Avengers look around and see the wasteland that used to be Asgard. U.S. Army helicopters are flying in to assist in recovery.
Norman Osborn is done. That's in the win column and even surrounded by this devastation, the New Avengers share some private joy in that. The Dark Reign is over. Now... is the Initiative over? How many walls are coming down today?
Steve Rogers walks up and lets them know that the President wants to have a talk with him. No-one knows what it's about. Luke asks if they should get while the getting's good but Cap doesn't think that's necessary. Things are changing. They just need to wait it out and see how things go.
Just because they are contractually obligated to appear in every issue of this volume of New Avengers, here comes the Syndicate! No worries about another big fight. They're already captured by the Asgardians. Balder, Sif, and the Warriors Three picture prominently while bringing in pretty much every member of the Syndicate.
The only two unaccounted for are the Hood and Madame Masque. The New Avengers demand to know where the Hood scampered off to and after some cajoling the Syndicate realize they have no need to protect the Hood any longer. They don't know where HE is but they know where his cousin is. If there's one guy that Parker would contact while on the run, it would be John King.
And, sure enough, Parker Robbins does just that. Unfortunately for the Hood, the New Avengers have already captured King so when the cell phone call comes in they're listening. You all expect me to get frustrated right now because John King was retired to Florida at the end of Dark Reign: The Hood and has no business being here, don't you? Well, continuity is a random and crazy thing. You could definitely No-Prize your way out of this situation. Maybe the New Avengers picked up King from his forced retirement knowing that Parker would contact him when the chips were down? It's obvious that King is just a little out of the loop when it comes to current Syndicate deals. I'm going to give this continuity glitch a pass just because it doesn't directly contradict previous information. It just bends it a lot.
The New Avengers are able to zip across the country at a quick pace because their current ride is that Heli-transport they used to get to Asgard so quickly in Siege #2. It's quite the ride and has the ability to create its own wormholes. Or something. It's fast.
Parker tells John to get on a plane and meet him in LA with all the money they've collected. That means the Avengers are off to Cali.
Granted, they don't really know what they're going to do if they capture the Hood. John King brings up the good point that he and Parker have a LOT of money. Surely it's enough to buy them pretty good attorneys to cut down on their jail time. Right? Luke looks King in the eye and calls his bluff. Sure, they have money but the wind has turned. The bad guys aren't coming out on top today. They're going away for a good long time. This Dark Reign is over, yo.
There's also some mention of how the heroes created the gap in the underworld that lead to the Hood siezing power. The Kingpin was forced out. Someone took over. That's a lame excuse. It basically amounts to the premise that you can't get rid of bad men because more bad men will replace them. You can't blame that on the people removing the bad men. That's what they do. They take down the bad guy. Then they take down the guy that replaces the bad guy. Rinse and repeat.
The only real question is what to do with all these villains when they capture them. The New Avengers are vigilantes at this point. Do they have the authority to do this? Who do they turn the Hood over to when he caught? Luke give a rousing speech about how the Hood HAS to go down or they'll just end up facing him in every issue of the second volume and NO-ONE WANTS TO SEE THAT EVER AGAIN. It's enough to get everyone to agree that this is it. The Hood is going down.
The Avengers use the espionage equipment aboard their craft to sneak a peak inside Parker's current hiding place. What they see doesn't look good. Not only are the Hood and Madame Masque inside but that looks suspiciously like Count Nefaria. That's major big league action. Last time it took the Avengers, Thunderbolts, and Madame Masque to take him down. This is the street-level team. They have Ms. Marvel but the rest of the team is much lower power. Carol goes over Nefaria's powers and abilities and now they just need to know what the Hood's plan is.
After some slight persuasion (Spider-Woman's bio-stings) John King calls Parker up and asks his cousin what the plan is. Parker tells him that it's all about getting powered up again. King can't believe Robbins lost his powers again but that's the way it is. This works out well for the New Avengers. Capturing the Hood and Madame Masque should be simple. The trouble is Count Nefaria. The dude is no pushover.
Everyone knows that they'll carry the day but it sure would be nice to use the time to actually PREP for a win. Luke Cage makes a phone call.
Inside Nefaria's place, the deal is being settled. The Hood gives him all the money and, in return, Nefaria supplies Parker with the same super powers that are charging through the good Count. Robbins isn't convinced this is a good idea. After all, it's a lot of money. Nefaria explains that there will be more where that comes from if the Hood just agrees to the procedure. He doesn't think Parker has a choice. After having the power of the Norn Stones, it's hard to go back to just being normal. Count Nefaria shows the Hood the scientist that will be working on the new powers but Parker still isn't fully convinced.
It doesn't matter. This procedure isn't going to happen. Avengers frickin' Assemble.
As far as super-hero surgical strikes go, this one is pretty good. Captain America's shield smashes in first. Madame Masque and the Hood are webbed up soon after. Luke Cage charges in to distract Nefaria while Spider-Man grabs the Hood and brings him aboard the New Avenger's ride.
Luke heads for cover as Mockingbird explodes the room in cannon fire (provided by their Heli-transport). Ms. Marvel starts her fight with Count Nefaria because she's really the only heavy-hitter on the team. Spider-Woman flies in and takes Madame Masque out of the fight after the villain tore off Spider-Man's webbing.
Nefaria pours on the powers as he continues hitting Carol with blast after blast. The mocking comes now as he thinks the fight is already won. What's he's forgotten is that Ms. Marvel absorbs powers. She's pretty well charged up now. It's time to return these blasts to their sender.
Nefaria is sent flying. He smashes into another building but this attack barely slows him down. The rest of the team has gathered aboard the Heli-Transport and almost want to join back in the fight with Nefaria. That would ruin the plan, though, so Carol yells at them to stay to course.
Nefaria comes back in raging. His suit is ruined. Luchino retuns to the fight using the full force of his ionic abilities and makes sure everyone knows he's immortal.
Enter: The Wolverine. This would be because of the phone call Luke Cage made earlier. Logan starts cutting and doesn't stop for quite a while. When he's done, Nefaria is covered in cuts and blood. This leaves the villain wide open for Ms. Marvel's final attack which basically busts the bad guy wide open. Energy literally explodes off Nefaria... mostly from the groin and stomach. Witness the pain.
When it's all said and done, the New Avengers have taken out Nefaria and captured the Hood and Madame Masque. This is just after the end to Norman's Dark Reign. It's been a good day. Ronin does some last minute gloating over the well-defeated Hood before they wormhole back to Oklahoma.
When they've reached Asgard, the New Avengers drop off their prisoners with the U.S. Army and Maria Hill. The Avengers still don't know what's been going down while they've been out chasing the bad guys. Maria laughs and tells them that they should really be watching television or checking the internet. Hell, answering their phones would help.
The world wakes up a very different place.
Steve Rogers is America's new Top Cop and they couldn't have chosen a better man. Clint jokes around about Steve being the new Norman Osborn but Rogers would rather be thought of as the new Nick Fury. All that aside, the Initiative is done. The Superhuman Registration Act is over. It's the Heroic Age. The New Avengers have won.
It's been a long fight. Mostly with the Syndicate. Now what?
Luke Cage will tell us. He narrates our way through a visual history of the New Avengers. We start with the a scene from the Ronin arc where the team fought the Hand (the first time). Next up is a shot from the Sentry storyline where an assembly of heroes showed up to take care of the Sentry question. We visit the final battle of House of M and follow it up with a scene from the Collective story where the team fought Xorn in Michael Pointer's body. The visuals jump right past Civil War and the Initiative and we pick back up when everyone fought side-by-side against the Skrulls in Secret Invasion. It's interesting that the Hood and his Syndicate as well as Norman Osborn and the Thunderbolts were part of this team-up. The next image is from New Avengers #50 when the team thought they were going up against the Dark Avengers but ended up facing the Syndicate again. To confuse matters, the cover of New Avengers #50, featuring the fight that never happened against the Dark Avengers is shown next. Finally, we have the assemblage of heroes in Siege as they're entering the fight for Asgard and Iron Patriot is eating Cap's shield.
It's been a wild ride. All of these images are accompanied by narration from Luke Cage. Cage walks us through his feelings on why he does what he does and how these events shaped his thoughts. In the end, he knows that the only way this is over, the only way he'll know he won the fight, will be when he can walk outside in the public without having to sacrifice his beliefs to do it.
Which is where we end the book. The team, sans Logan, take a walk through the park in their civilian clothes. Luke is there with his family. They don't have to hide anymore. The fight has been won.
Avengers: The Initiative #35
Writer: Christos N. Gage
Penciler: Jorge Molina
In this final issue:
• Taskmaster pulls Constrictor for the wreckage of Asgard.
Steve Rogers does the same for Diamondback.
• Constrictor sees Rachel with Captain America and bugs out before learning that Diamondback was explaining his whole story to Cap.
• Norman Osborn is taken down while Taskmaster ridicules from a safe distance.
• The Syndicate left at Camp HAMMER lose their extra abilities at the same time that Loki gets the Norn Stones.
• Komodo gets her powers back and long standing issues are resolved.
• Baron Von Blitzschlag barters for his freedom.
• Tigra confronts the Hood and lets him live.
• Justice thinks on what he's going to do in the future.
• Constrictor goes back to crime.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE .
Yeah, we're gonna be covering a lot of the same bases in this walk through that we brought up in the last few. This time, it's all about the Initiative.
Which means Taskmaster. Tasky was the last member the join Osborn's Cabal but that doesn't actually matter much any more since the Cabal is well-done and caput. In fact, Iron Patriot pretty much gives that visual when he steps on Taskmaster during his bid to escape. Skull face finally frees himself from his prison of mortar and dust to find that he didn't fare as well in the fall of Asgard as, say, Ben Urich. Taskmaster was actually injured.
It's nothing fatal. Tasky's got a few bruises, a number of cracked ribs, and an injured (possibly broken) leg. It wouldn't mean much except he plans on making a run for it and he might need that leg to do it. Taskmaster decides he'll need some help. He steps on the Constrictor and finds the friend he'll need.
Frank only has one thing on his mind when he comes to: Diamondback. Speaking of, Steve Rogers is rescuing her from the dangerous ground right now. Looks like Rachel survived this one just fine and was reunited with the good guys, too!
Constrictor looks around for Rachel but it's Taskmaster that notices her first. She's talking to Captain America, her ex. Obviously, she's no longer interested in Constrictor. I mean, right? Constrictor, who's sort of a fatalist about this romance, doesn't even try fighting for his girl. He just sees her joining the side of the angels and decides to join Taskmaster in the big old retreat.
Which is moronic for both of them. Both Taskmaster and Constrictor were part of the Initiative before Norman Osborn. They just rolled with the new team orders the same as a lot of others. Since Constrictor was helping Rachel out in keeping her double agent status secret, he's got even more reason to believe he'd be welcomed on the good guys' side. No, they both decide that they're straight-up bad guys again.
All this time, Diamondback is trying to explain to Cap all about her new boyfriend and all that Frank did to help her out. She wants Steve's help in finding Constrictor but Steve does it about as easily as Taskmaster. He points in the sky where Taskmaster and Constrictor are taking off in Goblin Gliders. Cap might come off a little cold here but he's got a lot on his mind. In fact, it's time he got back to taking down Norman Osborn.
Ozzy's armor is collapsing around him, revealing his crazy Goblin war paint. Taskmaster sees this from the air and throws a few taunts down to the fallen Director of HAMMER. This includes the time when Taskmaster helped Deadpool out during the Magnum Opus crossover between Deadpool and the Thunderbolts. After that, Taskmaster and Constrictor fly off into the sunset.
Meanwhile, the Sentry goes all Void-like.
We relive the talk between the Hood and Madame Masque one last time where Loki takes away the Norn Stones and our two villains escape Asgard in a Hummer.
This has unforseen consequences at Camp HAMMER. We all know that once the Syndicate in Asgard have lost their super charge, the ones at Camp HAMMER also lost their powers. What you might not have known is that when Loki powered up the heroes in Asgard, the heroes at Camp HAMMER also got a boost. I know! It doesn't make sense to me either! Anyway, it ends this fight a lot quicker and that's all that's important in this final issue.
Also at Camp HAMMER but inside, Baron Von Blitzschlag is busy destroying evidence. He's knows that the Dark Reign is over and refuses to go to jail for all the atrocious things he's been up to. Komodo shows up to make sure the Baron can't complete his evidence tampering. This is must a bit more difficult since Komodo doesn't have powers right now and is confined to a wheelchair. Still, he gun is aimed true and there's not a lot Blitzschlag can do to get around her.
Things get more complicated quickly. Cloud 9 shows up and is followed by Hardball. Now, Hardball has his own history with Komodo and this isn't a reunion that exactly wanted. Cloud 9 prevents Komodo from shooting Roger while he injects K with a compound that negates the SPIN tech in her bloodstream. That means Komodo has her powers back!
It doesn't mean that she's happy to see Hardball. It takes Cloud 9 some time to convince her to even listen to her ex. In the end, their reunion is left up in the air. We may never know if Komodo forgives Roger for everything he's done.
All this time, Baron Von Blitzschlag has been watching and not really working that hard in destroying any sensitive documents. In fact, he's compiled a bunch of evidence against Norman Osborn in an attempt to avoid any prison time for himself.
Outside, the word has reached the HAMMER Agents that Norman Osborn has been removed from power. His mandates are no longer valid. The writing is on the wall. The Agents of HAMMER surrender. One of them reveals that he never agreed with Osborn's directives anyway. The rest is just aftermath dealing. For example, let's look in on how Tigra spends her time in the new Heroic Age.
The Hood has been captured. We just went over how that went down in New Avengers Finale #1. You might remember that Tigra has more than a few bones to pick with Parker Robbins. She visits the criminal as he's locked up in Classified Superhuman Holding Facility Theta. The Hood is in a bad way at this point. He's been depowered (again) and his bid to get new powers failed miserably. The Norn Stones are kind of like an addiction and the Hood is kind of like an addict now. The only problem is the Norn Stones seems to have been destroyed in the Siege.
Tigra explains how things are. She's a cop. That's how she got in. There's a code among those in uniform, after all. She could kill Parker right now and nothing would happen. Heck, with the return of Captain America, the world is riding high on the super-hero buzz. This wouldn't even dent that record.
But she's not going to kill him. She looks at him as sees how pathetic he is now. His power is gone and he's tweaking like a druggie. That's not the reason, though. The reason is in the hallway. He gave up everything for power. Coming in for a visit is his ex-girlfriend and his baby daughter. He's not going to be seeing them again. Tigra wouldn't want to be in the same position. After all, she's got a son that she wants to have a life with.
Avengers Tower. We hit the Siege after party and enjoy some time with our Initiative cast one last time.
There's a lot of talk about what happens next. Donyell (Night Thrasher) is all ready to form yet another New Warriors squad. I'd be all about it depending on the creative team, actually. And... if Donyell is kept well away from the team. I love Night Thrasher but Donny just annoyed me. ANYWAY, Justice and Ultragirl don't follow that line at all. Ultragirl wants to support some of the Initiative teams that are staying active. Justice looks around and sees some members of his first class of Initiative trainees. He sees the good he did as an instructor and thinks it would be great to so that again.
In fact, a tiny plot point is brought up again here that was originally mentioned in Avengers: The Initiative #31. Norman has been collecting kids with powers. Some have come voluntarily and some have been kidnapped. Someone's got to think of the children.
Speaking of, Tigra is busy showing off her kid. THAT'S RIGHT! She already gave birth to a part cat, part Skrull baby. I always wondered when she was going to show that she was pregnant but it turns out her werecat-ness makes her gestation time much shorter than a normal person. In fact, she gave birth to her kid during the time between Stark and Osborn's administrations. She left the child in the care of the cat people while she took care of business. Now, she wants to build a life with her son and make sure the world is a safe place for him. Justice thinks he has a perfect place for her. He just needs to talk over his ideas with Steve Rogers.
Steve is talking over the future of the Initiative teams with Diamondback. He thinks that Rachel would be the best choice in coordinating the efforts of those teams in the new Heroic Age. Diamondback is distracted. She's still thinking about Constrictor. He hasn't tried to make contact.
In Japan, Taskmaster and Constrictor are taking what seems like a criminal job. Frank is equally distracted but he's on the case. In his hands, are two of Rachel's diamonds.
On the last page, we catch up on what will happen in the future of some characters that we won't be following in Avengers Academy. Bengal takes his family to Brooklyn and opens up a martial arts school. Prodigy becomes a motivational speaker and thinks about putting the Slingers back together (since one of them is dead, that might be-- eh, Hornet can probably be replaced). Trauma may be training with Dr. Strange or maybe he's not. Debrii stayed in Europe and became a judge on a reality television program involving super-heroes. Butterball and Batwing started up their own team in North Carolina.
And that's the end! Join us real soon for the first issue of Avengers Academy!
The Sentry: Fallen Sun #1
Writer: Paul Jenkins
Penciler: Tom Raney
In this issue:
• Scout and Watchdog show up for Bob Reynold's funeral.
• The heroes show up soon after.
• Tony Stark shares some personal stories about the Sentry and gives everyone a beer. He drinks water.
• Thor dances with Bob's mother.
• Dr. Strange shares his words of inspiration and another Sentry story.
• CLOC declares that the Sentry will rise again and heads off to rebuild the Watchtower.
• Rogue runs off after letting on that she had an affair with Sentry.
• Ben Grimm tells everyone why he hated the Sentry.
• Reed Richards closes the ceremony by talking about Bob's wedding day.
One of the things that may annoy you about the Sentry is that he's one big, massive retcon. If that kind of thing bothers you, you might not want to read this whole walkthrough. It'll just piss you off.
For the rest of you, let's sit back and enjoy a time of remembrance with the people who knew the Sentry best. This isn't a funeral for the Void so don't expect everyone to recall the worst moments in the life of Bob Reynolds. This is the time to remember the good times.
Bob's funeral isn't exactly the easiest thing to arrange especially when the Sentry went all evil on national television. The world will probably always remember the evil done by the Sentry. This might be why the priest never showed up for the funeral.
There's also no body. That got thrown into the sun.
Showing his respects at the monument are Billy Turner and Watchdog. Billy is the Sentry's former sidekick, Scout. He's lost his arm and had his face scarred up by the Void (I believe-- honestly, I don't remember a lot about the Scout so I'm going on the vaguest of memories). For a time, it seems that these two are the only ones that are going to show up.
Then, everyone else shows up. The Fantastic Four, Steve Rogers, Rogue, Daredevil, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Dr. Strange, and Tony Stark. Reed apologizes for not getting here earlier but Scout doesn't really care. He barely showed up himself. The only reason he did is because he made a promise to set things up in the case of the Sentry's death.
Sue and Johnny walk up to the memorial to pay their respects. Rogue joins them. Sue wonders what Rogue's connection to the Sentry was but we aren't going to learn it until a bit later. Right now, Anna's just keeping quiet. Sue and Johnny focus on the monument and we remember that it's not only Bob who's dead. His wife, Lindy was killed just before the Siege by Hawkeye (Bullseye).
Tony Stark is the first to share stories about Sentry which mostly revolve around his own struggle with alcoholism. It seems that the Sentry showed up during Tony's struggle with the bottle to offer some words of encouragement and to make sure Stark got a decent meal in him. This was probably quite important when Tony was living on the streets. This leads back to the Sentry's own struggles with the Void. Tony never knew just what his friend was dealing with but it puts his fight with alcohol to shame.
What Tony learned from Bob Reynolds is that he always has a choice. He couldn't control his desire for another drink but he could choose NOT to drink. To that end, he's brought beer. That might seem wierd because it is. Tony brings everyone beer but makes the choice to drink cool, refreshing water for himself. Everyone else enjoys the best beer Tony Stark can buy. You'd think that would be great beer but Tony is broke right now. This is very likely the cheapest beer Stark could find. Mmm... beer-flavored water.
As everyone chokes down the free beer, Johnny tells Scout that Spider-Man was unable to attend. Thor would also have liked to show up but that could have gotten awkward.
Instead, Thor has shown up at the nursing home of Bob Reynold's mother. She still doesn't know about the death of her son and it's up to Thor to tell her about these tragic events. Before he gets down to business, he treats the elderly lady to a dance as they reminisce on Bob and Lindy's wedding. After that's done, Thor discloses the nature of his visit.
Doctor Strange is the next to share his favorite Sentry story. This one cuts back to the first Sentry mini-series. It relates to Sentry's personal fight against the Void where he held back the power of the Void long enough for Reed and Stephen to reconstruct the Watchtower device and erase everyone's memory of the Sentry. Strange thinks it's a true measure of heroism that Bob chose for the world to forget about him in order to save the world from the Void.
Next up is CLOC. The mech servant of the Sentry hands over Bob's diary to Reed and has Mr. Fantastic read a particular line in the book. Whatever he reads puts a startled look on Reed's face but he isn't going to share with the rest of us so: Meh.
CLOC tells the crowd that his master will return. The Sentry will rise. He heads off to rebuild the Watchtower in another location, warning everyone that they'll be killed if they try to enter.
Scout and Reed discuss the diary in vague terms as Richards keeps looking at the book. Reed doesn't disclose the contents of the book which leads Billy to guess about it. He figures it's probably Bob's recipe for sausage and habanero dip.
We get some quick blurbs from most of the rest of the attendees. Sue remembers bowling night. Cyclops just extends his sympathies. I like Cyclops' inclusion here because he currently houses a little sliver of the Void in his mind. Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge. Steve expresses his admiration for the Sentry. Daredevil does much the same. Rogue... she breaks down. She lets out that the Sentry was the only one able to touch her for a long time before running off.
Man, how many women had Bob been with? I can count three off the top of my head. So... probably three. Lindy, Crystal, and Rogue. It's doesn't beat Hawkeye's record but it's still impressive given his actual time in the Marvel Universe.
Johnny tells people about a surprise birthday party that Sentry arranged for him involving a bunch of mole men.
All this time, Ben Grimm stays uncomfortably silent. When it comes time for the Thing to speak, it's not the usual happy funtime memory. In fact, Ben reminds everyone that he hated the Sentry.
Oh yeah, story time. There was a certain case years ago where the Wrecking Crew attacked a bus full of children (and some other stuff but the bus is most important). In the fight, Ben almost killed the Wrecker and was stopped by the Sentry. Later on, the Wrecker escaped from his jail cell and killed a bus of kindergarteners just to show that he could.
Ben doesn't hate the Sentry for preventing him from killing the Wrecker. Ben hates him because the Sentry was a better man. Even knowing all that happened, Ben knows that he shouldn't have tried to kill the Wrecker. It wasn't his place to play executioner. It was his job to apprehend the criminal. He never forgave Bob for being a better hero.
Well, the dude's dead. It's probably time to forgive. Everyone raises their bargain beer in toast.
All that's left is Reed Richards. Sentry's best friend.
Reed recalls the wedding of Lindy and Bob Reynolds. Apparently, it was insane which fits the Sentry because... well, he's mad. Anyway, Reed hopes that even when he was forced to forget about the Sentry that part of him remembered being his best man. He's pleased to remember all the good that Bob Reynolds did. Now, Bob is part of the sun that he loved to throw his enemies in.
Just like that sun always sets, Reed knows that every life has to end sometime. But the sun also rises. For that, Reed will try his best to remember his best friend every day.
The New Avengers: Luke Cage #2
Writer: John Arcudi
Artists: Pepe Larraz & Eric Canete
In this issue:
• Alex Comillo muscles in on the Russian Mafia in his terrifying wheelchair.
• Luke Cage scares a low level thug and takes his cell phone.
• Cage flashbacks to his conversation with Leodis Dyson where Dyson admits he's working as muscle for drug dealers.
• Luke works his way up the chain and infiltrates Alex Comillo's private resident.
• Comillo is revealed to be the villain Lionfang and attacks Luke with some big cats while explaining how it is.
• Luke isn't really injured by the cats but is also unable to bring himself to hurt a man in a wheelchair.
• Instead, he tells Comillo to deliver a warning to his boss. Boss man is going down.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE .
In North Philly, Alex Comillo is protecting his territory from a rival gang of Russians. Even though Alex is in a wheelchair, these men are terrified of him and his unseen power. Their boss is already a bloody pulp. They'll join him unless they agree to back off.
When they agree to leave this area, Alex lets them go and gets back into his handicap-accessible van.
The next day, low level enforcer Jimmy Eales uses his cell phone and learns that the Russians are gone and no longer a worry. That's good news for Jimmy. He drives into a neighborhood and threatens some kids who are trying to play a friendly game of baseball in the street. He warns them against playing on the street because he'll get all fierce if they scratch up his ride during their game.
Luke Cage solves the problem by shattering a window on Jimmy's car.
Jimmy tries to show how hard he is by displaying the semi-automatic weapon he has strapped into his belt. Which is just tacky. There's got to be a better way to holster one of those things. Visit an army surplus store, dude. Anyway, the act doesn't last long before Jimmy heads off full run.
The kids resume their game while Cage retrieves Eales' cell phone.
Luke brings the phone to Leodis Dyson's cousin, Arthur. While the kid is looking up the records on the phone, the New Avenger gives his loving wife a call. Jessica Jones isn't too happy with her man. Luke promised he'd only be gone for a couple days and he's already asking for an extention after three. This case just got more complicated and he just can't let it go. Jessica tells him that his responsibility is to his family before hanging up on him.
And, if you're wondering, Danielle Cage is still looking nothing like she should right down to the paler skin and light hair.
It's about time for our flashback. Last issue, we left Luke in the hospital with Leodis Dyson. Leodis was telling Luke how he deserved everything he got. Now, it's time for him to explain himself.
While Leodis came to Philadelphia looking to fight the good fight as a hero for hire, he learned quickly that the neighborhood was too afraid to approach him because of the strong influence of the local drug dealers. To make his life easier, Dyson decided to work for the dealers, helping them protect their territory. This opened the neighborhood up to the rest of his help. He was able to keep things... better... than they would be otherwise. He knows it was a stupid move but he doesn't have super powers. He had to make compromises in order to try to do some good.
Hammerhead beat the crap out of Leodis in an attempt to move into the territory. When Cage sent him packing, he was just protecting the current drug gang's territory. Working for the bad guys.
Now, Luke needs to end this thing. Leodis gives him a name that we've already heard. Jimmy Eales.
Now, Cage just needs to work his way up the chain until he gets the big man at the top.
It's also probably worth noting that, while Arthur is working through the cell's records, a commercial for Woodward C. Himes. We saw a billboard from him last issue. I don't want to connect too many dots right now but his further mention this issue works for my suspicions that Himes will be at the top of the food chain when all is said and done. We'll find out next issue, won't we?
Arthur has figured out the next link in the chain. Alexander Comillo. Luke heads over to Comillo's place to deliver a message.
Comillo isn't living poorly. Sure, the place is nothing to look at from the outside but the inside is quite a different story. It's a mansion.
Alex turns on the light and greets his nighttime visitor. Comillo seems to know Luke from the getgo even though Luke can't place him. Comillo's attitude is pretty casual. He's not worried. He's barely threatening.
Then the big cats attack. A lion. A tiger. A jaguar. Luke knows who he's facing. Lionfang. Prepare for another flashback. Alex controls cats using the cell-like device attached to his ear. In the past, a fight with Luke Cage cost him the use of his legs. Comillo isn't bitter. In fact, quite the opposite. He can still do his thing in his wheelchair and the handicap caused the jury to sympathize him and lighten his sentence.
The New Avenger throws a tiger up to Lionfang but it's no real matter. Comillo's not here to kill Cage. He's just here to educate the man. Calling off his cats, Alex tells Luke just how little the drug industry hurts the world. It only hurts those stupid enough to get caught up in it and the people running it live well. It's win/win, right?
Luke knows better.
People get hooked on drugs because they're looking for something to escape their lives. Some comfort in a hard world. What they find is even more emptiness. And then they're trapped in a vicious cycle.
There's little else Luke can do to Alex Comillo. He's already taken his legs and Cage isn't attacking a cripple. Alex isn't afraid of Luke. So, it's gonna have to be speech time.
Since Luke Cage isn't going to get a name out of Lionfang, he decides to make Alex his messenger boy. He tells Comillo to deliver a warning to his boss. Luke Cage is coming and nothing is going to stop him.
The Heroic Age: Prince of Power #1
Writers: Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente
Penciler: Reilly Brown
In this issue:
• Athena meets with the Council of Godheads and suggests Amadeus Cho as the Champion of the Heroic Age.
• Cho defeats the Griffin in a mall using Hercules' Adamantine Mace.
• Bruce Banner has built the Hercollider Synchronotron. The search for Hercules begins!
• Amadeus talks to Delphyne Gorgon, his prisoner and love interest all rolled into one.
• Vali Halfling has a meeting with Amadeus and tells him a potential way to gain immortality and godhood.
• Cho takes out Vali but decides to enact his plan and become a god so that he can find Hercules with omniscience.
• Amadeus takes a trip to the ruins of Asgard but finds that Vali has already stolen the Apples of Idunn.
• Guess who gets the blame?
Hercules is kind of, sort of dead. That's the kind of dead where there's no body and he's actually lost in a parallel universe or something. Amadeus Cho went looking for his friend in the Hades but didn't find him there because he wasn't there. Cho's conclusion is that Herc must be alive but out there in the multiverse.
And Herc ended up in that state because his sister is a douche. Athena decided that the day of Hercules was done and that it was time for a new champion for a new Heroic Age. So she got rid of Hercules at the end of his Assault on New Olympus storyline and put all her support behind Amadeus. Cho knows that Athena had something to do with the death of Hercules and has resolved to use his new position as CEO of Olympus Group to find Hercules and do as little for Athena as he can.
This somehow fits right into Athena's plans and since she's the goddess of wisdom, among many other things, you've got to expect her to be playing this little game of chess out a whole lot more moves than even Amadeus can factor. I guess we'll see.
Right now, the Council of Godheads, an assemblage of the head gods from each pantheon, has gathered to determine who will be the new Champion for the brand new Heroic Age. They've narrowed their choices down to Iron Man, Captain America (Bucky Version), or Thor. Athena, who has joined this council after the death of Zeus and Hera, gives them another option. "It's the kid."
That kid is the already mentioned Amadeus Cho. He's currently battling the Griffin at a Super-Saver Outlet Mall in Butte, Montana. Griffin was picked up with the rest of the Syndicate after the Siege of Asgard but someone has not only released him from jail but amped up his power levels. I'm betting it's not the Norn Stones this time.
Cho is facing the Griffin with Hercules' Adamantine Mace and a forcefield generator provided by Bruce Banner. It seems Amadeus has brought in Bruce to work on some special projects and to run trouble shooting during excercises like this. Another add on by Banner is making the Adamantine Mace fire off power blasts. These blasts are charged up by any attack hitting Cho's shields.
The blast knocks Griffin back into an indoor ferris wheel and Amadeus has to use his brilliant mind to prop it up before it falls and injures people. At the same time, his Mace is ricocheting around the room. Griffin uses this lull in the fighting to brag a bit about his master. It seems the "Chaos King" is coming and he's not bringing anything for the potluck. This guy's energies are surging around the monstrous which is why Griffin found himself out of jail and his power amplified. Without Hercules, they're doomed.
The Adamantine Mace has finished it's rebound action and ends up back in Cho's had for a final strike against the Griffin. Game over.
Athena appears ethereally to congratulate her champ on his victory. Amadeus warns her against sending guys like the Griffin around to test him because of all the collateral damage that could have happened. Athena claims no responsibility in the attack but that still doesn't get her off the hook. Cho thinks that if she isn't cause she could very well work to be the solution instead of looming above the world of mortals and doing stuff like this. Athena agrees. She's trying to motivate the Council of Godheads to action. She also expects the mortals to help themselves out, though.
When Athena leaves, Amadeus teleports himself and his unconscious opponent to Gammaworld, New Mexico. While his people secure the Griffin, Cho gets some updates from Hebe. She's working as his personal assistant and isn't acting like her normally youthful self. It seems the death of Hercules has changed her attitude.
She's mostly concerned with how fast the Olympus Group is burning through money lately but she's going to find out why very quickly. She'll also approve. In one of the lab room in this facility, Bruce Banner has been building the Hercollider Sychronitron. It's cost him half a trillion dollars but there it is.
Before Hebe blows a gasket, Amadeus fills her in on Herc's current status of only mostly dead. This device will help them find their lost Olympian no matter where he's managed to hang his head. Hebe is overjoyed and can't wait for the return of her husband.
The problem is that there's an nearly unlimited number of universes that could have swallowed Hercules up. The Hercollider will find what it's looking for but it could take over a billion years to do so. Amadeus returns to the Olympus Group Building in New York city and shares his troubles with Delphyne Gorgon.
First, on the outside of the building, Amadeus is building a monument to Hercules. It's a huge statue and it's a visual representation of what he's doing running this company.
OK, now to the actual conversation. It's very one-sided. This is because Delphyne is an ex-girlfriend and she currently finds herself in one of the holding cells located inside the Olympus Group Building. She's not talking to Amadeus because he's her jailer. Things are awkward and him coming to her door and using her as his confidante probably isn't helping matters. Inside that cell, she IS paying attention but quickly goes back to her book when Amadeus gets boring.
She's reading "How to Kill a God." Someone is still looking to kill Athena and end the Gorgon curse.
Cho's day is effectively ruined but he still has to do that running the company thing so he's stuck in meetings. His next appointment is with Vali Halfling from the Pantheon. Since this is a Hulk villain, there's no way that Cho is not going to attack him so it's a good thing that Vali is appearing through a hologram projector. There are two of Vali's Pantheon members so there ARE two actual people attending this meeting with the hologram.
The sprinklers start as Cho warns Vali to get to the point of this meeting. After all, he has only thirty seconds before he traces the hologram transmission back to it's source and Amadeus targets the actual Vali.
Vali goes into his story about how he was kicked out of Asgard for challenging the Asgardian's authority. He lays on that the Coucil of Godheads was only set up to protect the various pantheons. No one's actually interested in helping mortals. Vali's been assembling a mortal pantheon to serve the interests of the world. All he needs is the secrets to becoming a god. And Vali already knows them so he just needs some help gathering them up.
Here are the ingredients:
From the Olympians: Hebe's Ambrosia.
From the Asgardians: The Apples of Idunn.
From the Egyptian Pantheon: The spells from the Book of Thoth.
From the Hindu gods: The Moon-Cup of Dhanvantari.
Amadeus thinks about this alliance for all of two seconds before Amadeus sends a feedback loop through Vali's holographic projector and strikes down Vali's two underlings. He takes the list of ingredients for godhood and decides to go collect them on his own but not for the same purpose as Vali. He's going to become a god so he can use the omniscience to find his lost friend, Hercules.
Now, flaws in this argument... Cho hangs out with Hebe and she doesn't seem to have any sign of omniscience. What are the odds that this recipe for godhood would give that ability to Amadeus? Will it level him out to godhead status? Will that give him what he wants? We don't know. Cho is just assuming. Even Hebe thinks this is a bad idea but it's too late to stop our teenage Prince of Power.
Amadeus tells Hebe to get the flunkies down to the holding facility before teleporting down to Asgard to get some of those apples.
After the fall of the great city, Asgard has seen better days.
Heimdall may be short one eye but he should see Amadeus teleport in. For a moment, the eternal guardian glances over where Amadeus is teleporting in but Cho is using his smarts to avoid detection. He teleports out the same amount of air that he'll soon occupy so that there's no air displacement for Heimy to notice.
Amadeus walks up to about the only building still standing and heads straight for the tree that should hold the Apples of Idunn. The tree is completely bare of any fruit. Or leaves. The thing doesn't look well. On the tree is a note left for Cho.
"I can't believe you actually fell for that."
It looks like Vali has already been here. Amadeus doesn't escape detection forever. An Asgardian girl notices him and assumes she's just caught the thief responsible for the theft of the Apples of Idunn. She raises the alarm.
Guess who responds first to the alarm? Thor. God of thunder. He makes the same assumption as the unnamed Asgardian lady. Calling down how ashamed he is that a companion of Hercules would do such heinous acts, Thor gets ready to teach the young Prince of Power a lesson.
The Amazing Spider-Man #122
Writer: Gerry Conway
Penciler: Gil Kane
In this issue:
• Gwen Stacy is dead. Spider-Man attacks the Goblin, seeking revenge.
• Green Goblin escapes and Spider-Man fights his way through policemen to do the same.
• Peter heads to Norman Osborn's townhouse but all he finds is a delusional Harry Osborn.
• Spider-Man swings over to the Daily Bugle and gets a tip from Robbie Robertson as to Osborn's current location.
• Spider-Man ends up surprising the Goblin and beating the villain to a pulp before regaining control of his emotions.
• Green Goblin summons his goblin glider (who's tip has been twisted to a point) and intends on stabbing Spidey through with it.
• Warned by his spider-sense, Peter ducks at the last minute and the glider continues on it's path, stabbing the Green Goblin in the chest.
• The Goblin dies. Spider-Man feels empty.
• Peter goes home and is comforted by Mary Jane.
You know what I forgot to mention when going over ASM #121 last time? I forgot to mention the bridge discrepancies. I meant to do it, but that was a hard issue to walkthrough so I forgive myself for not doing so. Anyway, Spider-Man identifies the bridge as the George Washington Bridge even going so far as saying that George Washington is Norman Osborn's favorite president. The art, however, showed the Brooklyn Bridge. This issue does the same. Spider-Man is clearly atop the Brooklyn Bridge.
The great debate that will frustrate us until the end of time is "what bridge did Gwen Stacy die on?". Normally, this issue is retconned with her actually dying on the Brooklyn Bridge but there are recent instances that still refer to it as the George Washington. So you'd be right either way.
We start this issue right after the last one ended. Spider-Man is holding his dead girlfriend on top of some bridge in New York. Green Goblin is flying around, happy as a jaybird about the tragedy Peter Parker is suffering. This just makes Peter angrier.
Spidey swings down and drops Gwen's body off at the edge of the East River (or possibly the Hudson depending what bridge they're actually on). He swings back up to take his revenge on the Green Goblin. Remember that cold Spider-Man had last issue? Totally forgotten. Maybe Peter fought his way through it in his rage and dispair or maybe the writer had other things to worry about. Either way, Peter Parker is fighting mad and he's ready to kill the Green Goblin with renewed strength.
Peter goes for the traditional strategy that worked so well during his last major battle with the Goblin. He wraps his legs around Ozzy's head and starts delivering blow after blow to the Goblin's noggin. In this berserker state, Spidey's not really paying much attention to his spider-sense so is totally oblivious when the Green Goblin flies him right into one of the bridge's suspension cables.
The Wallcrawler drops to the water below but saves himself at the last minute with a lucky webline. By the time he recovers, the villain of the piece is long gone. He looks over at the body of Gwen Stacy and sees that policemen and a crowd have gathered.
His first response is illogical and full of emotion more than sense. He lunges into the crowd and stops everyone from touching his girlfriend's body. This causes one of the cops to pull his firearm but he's stopped by the other policeman who turns out to be his superior. The wiser cop knows that Spider-Man is suffering for the death of Gwen and needs some time. Besides: spider-sense. Gun's going to be mostly useless.
Peter holds the dead body tight as visions of the past swirl around him. The police tell Spidey that the ambulance has arrived but the Webslinger replies that it's too late. Gwen Stacy is dead and he's responsible.
You don't say things like that without the police wanting to bring you in for questioning. Spider-Man has better things to do that spend the night in jail, though. He's got to go after the actual killer. He throws off the policemen and swings away as bullets fly around him.
Peter swings a distance away and switches into his civvies. He's going to Norman Osborn's townhouse on the slight chance that his opponent would turn up there. There's little chance of that so Parker isn't surprised that the Green Goblin didn't show up at home. Instead, Peter finds Harry Osborn, still tweaking after a bad acid trip. He was hoping to question his best friend on the whereabouts of Norman Osborn that that doesn't seem to be a possibility now.
Peter leaves even as Harry begs him to stay. He just has better things to do that play nursemaid right now.
Changing into his super-hero suit, Spider-Man heads over to the Daily Bugle soon after the news has spread about Gwen Stacy's death. Robbie Robertson is still in a state of shock when Spidey shows up in his window asking for information on Norman Osborn. Even though the police have told the press that Spider-Man is responsible, Peter doesn't waste any time disputing that. He's here for info, not small talk.
Robbie finds recent information that Norman Osborn was seen within the hour near one of his warehouses. Spider-Man has a lead. Now, he just has to deal with the entrance of J. Jonah Jameson. JJJ isn't as reasonable a guy as Robbie and comes in with the word "murderer" on his lips. Spidey doesn't even waste time here. He just webs up Jonah's mouth and swings off for his battle with Norman Osborn.
The Goblin has been making last minute plans of his own. His business is in trouble and his son is lost in a world of drug abuse. What do these kind of things mean to a man like the Green Goblin? With his power, he'll dominate the world. Right? Probably not but crazy guys say crazy things. In the middle of his own private monologue, Norman gets a signal telling him that Spider-Man is here.
The Green Goblin expects the Wallcrawler to enter through the front and makes a plan to take the back way out and prepare a surprise attack. Spider-Man is one step ahead of the villain and gets the jump on the Goblin.
The Green Goblin is grounded. Spidey twists up his goblin glider which is very important in the final confrontation. The front of the glider is turned aroung and bent into something very pointy and sharp. For now, that's forgotten and the two get busy with the fighting.
Without the advantage of his glider, the Goblin is no match for the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. He goes on and on about how Parker will pay for ruining his glider but Peter imagines such a bill can come out of the one where the Green Goblin killed Peter's first love.
Spider-Man has the villain on the ropes and delivers a violent beating. Before ending this fight in a permanent manner, Peter stops himself. He's not a killer. Sure, revenge would be nice but he can't do it. He backs off and shudders at what he almost did.
Osborn doesn't stay down long but his head is still swimming from the beating he just suffered. It's best to end this fight quickly. He summons his glider by remote, intending on jabbing the pointy end into Spider-Man's back.
He's so confident that this is going to work that he and Spider-Man do far more talking that you'd think possible waiting for the glider to turn around and slice it's way through spider-flesh. Of course, the Goblin never expects that Peter's spider-sense will warn him of the danger and allow him to duck at the last minute. That leaves the glider to fly right past it's intended victim and bury itself right into Norman Osborn's chest.
The Glider keeps him pinned to the wall until it runs out of fuel. After that, it drops the already dead Goblin to the ground. Spider-Man watches all of this but it doesn't make the death of Gwen any easier to bear. It just makes one more person dead. He walks off, the rage of battle gone.
In the shadows, someone has watched this fight to it's conclusion. They're in deep shadows so we won't learn until much later that this is Harry Osborn. Harry picks up the pieces of this fight and makes sure the authorities don't find Norman dressed in anything super-villain related.
We all know that this isn't the end of the Green Goblin. While he remained presumed dead for decades of our time, the Clone Sage ended with the revelation that Norman had been hiding out in Europe ever since his death here. The Goblin Juice healed him even of this fatal-looking wound. Gwen Stacy wouldn't be so lucky.
Peter returns to his apartment and finds Mary Jane is there. She had heard about the death of Gwen and came to share her grief. Since this isn't her usual behavior and Peter isn't feeling all that up for entertaining, he acts offended at her demeanor and tells her to leave. She always hates dwelling in tragedy, after all.
With tears in her eyes, Mary Jane walks to the door. She turns to look at Peter who is silently weeping and shuts the door without leaving.
And I am spent. That's a lot of comics, man! Get ready for the new Heroic Age to start up in full swing with my next article!
Until then: Excelsior!
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