Saturday, June 23, 2018 • Evening Edition • "Tom Brennan's worst nightmare."

Super Reads 106

Written by SuperginraiX on Monday, August 23 2010 and posted in Features

One more week, one more stack of comics

Today, we check out The New Avengers #1, Age of Heroes #2, Atlas #2, Deadpool #24, and Blast to the Past for Journey Into Mystery #83. Enjoy and spread the word!

Spoilers Ahead!

Relaunch! Anthology! Guest Read! Deadpool! Lightning! What more could you ask for?

Looking to read up on everything from Secret Invasion to Siege? Check no further than this link right HERE .

Let's check on the newest Avengers since... well, since Avengers Academy last week.

na1.jpgThe New Avengers #1
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Stuart Immonen

In this issue:

• Dr. Strange gets punked by a demon in Daimon Hellstrom's body.

• Luke Cage buys the Avengers Mansion for a dollar.

• Doctor VooDoo fights demon possessed Strange and Hellstrom.

• Luke Cage, Danny Rand, and family move into the Mansion and confront Ms. Victoria Hand, their new handler.

• VooDoo keeps on fighting his demon-possessed peers.

• Luke and Logan welcome Hand to her new job.

• The Thing joins the team. Maybe. They start fighting before he actually says yes.

• VooDoo teleports the Eye of Agamotto to Luke. Strange and Hellstrom follow it.

• Cage gets possessed and grows to giant size.

The New Avengers Finale was covered HERE .

Same creative team, mostly the same roster... brand new shiny number one. As much as I loved this issue, it arrives without the same sense of importance as the last New Avengers #1 did. I DID enjoy it, though, so it still succeeded.

The new book begins with a visit between Doctor Strange and Daimon Hellstrom. These two last met up in the last New Avengers book when the new Sorceror Supreme was chosen (that'd be Doctor VooDoo but we won't see him until later). Daimon warned about an invasion from the demonic plane after seeing Dormammu gain access to our little slice of existance through a cloak. No-one seemed to do anything about it, though.

This meeting starts up with Daimon giving the warning once again. It's actually quite similar to what's happening with the Fault in the Cosmic Books. War after interstellar war weakened the fabric of reality until it tore itself open. This is the same deal, but we're talking more mystical than science fiction. When Stephen Strange gets the warning this time, he tends to believe it. It's time to make plans and figure out who's trying to get in and how to stop them.

Daimon Hellstrom has already done this bit of homework. They're getting in by possession. He knows because he's a victim. Before Dr. Strange's eyes, the Son of Satan grows to gigantic proportions and bursts into flames.

At the end of Siege, Tony Stark threw a party on top of Avengers Tower. After Tony gave a rousing speach, Steve Rogers showed up and got the ball rolling on reforming the Avengers. With the former Captain America playing America's Top Cop, things are different. The Superhuman Registration Act has been tossed to the wayside and heroes are able to be heroes once again without answering to the government.

Except that Steve's Avengers team will BE the government's team in much the same way that Tony's Mighty Avengers team and Norman Osborn's Dark Avengers team were the government's Avengers. This is kind of a big issue for Luke Cage. He and his teammates have been fighting as Avengers despite whatever official team was using the name and he doesn't know how joining a government team of Avengers equals a win. It's something he's not going to budge on even when Steve keeps mentioning that it's a CHOICE now instead of a mandate.

Along comes Tony Stark. He asks Luke what made his team Avengers and Cage answers that is was Captain America saying that they were Avengers that made them feel like Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Stark asks if they want to keep being Avengers and gets an affirmative.

Tony asks Luke for a dollar. Since Luke doesn't carry any cash on him, he has to borrow it from Iron Fist. They still don't know what this is about. Tony's broke, though, so maybe he just needs bus fare. Turns out they've just bought the newly refurbished Avengers Mansion. They can go be their own team of Avengers at the Mansion while Steve's team of Avengers is stationed at the Tower. What's great about this is that it was Tony's idea. If Cage didn't go for Steve's plan, they'd go be Avengers on their own terms.

It's a nice compromise for everyone. After years of tension between government Avengers and rebel Avengers, it looks like both teams will exist in harmony. Luke asks who he can have on his team; the only team members Steve says are off-limits are Iron Man and Thor. You need that trinity for the main team.

In New Orleans, the Sorceror Supreme, Doctor VooDoo is meditating while his brother, Daniel, is nagging. Brothers. Even when they're dead they'll get on your nerves. The two brothers bicker back and forth for a bit before Doctor Strange and Daimon Hellstrom show up. Jericho's no dummy and he's definitely not a novice. The Sorceror Supreme knows that something's up. Strange and Daimon claim that trouble's coming and that they need to see the Eye of Agamotto. Not gonna happen. Jericho Drumm demands to know who is possessing his colleagues but gets no answer. His brother tells him to run.

But enough gloom! This is the Heroic Age! We've got heroic things to do, like move our New Avengers team into their new mansion headquarters! This... is awesome. I can't even tell you when Avengers Mansion was rebuilt but it's about time. You'd think Stark would have started rebuilding after taking over the Initiative but that's not the case. The Young Avengers were using the ruins as a headquarters right up into Dark Reign and the front door was used as a gate to get to Hank Pym's lab (later the Infinite Mansion) in Subspace in the pages of Mighty Avengers. It's just good to see the Mansion back in effect once more.

And it belongs to Luke Cage. Twist. Danny Rand tries to claim half ownership since it was his dollar that Luke used to buy the place but that's a no-go. Shut down by Jessica Jones, Luke Cage's wife. Now, you've got to wonder what the upkeep on a building like this is and who's going to front the bill for that. Is the Maria Stark Foundation still around to finance an Avengers Squad? Are they getting money from Steve? Unanswered questions but things that may be answered in the future. Now, it's just nice to see the New Avengers with a more permanent home base.

When they get to the door, they find that they've picked up an unexpected house guest: Ms. Victoria Hand former Deputy Director of HAMMER. In the last issue of Dark Avengers, Steve let Victoria go without pressing charges and now he's put her to work here. Hand doesn't have any friends in this crowd and has decided to defend herself with a gigantic space gun. That just makes Luke and family more angry.

Victoria has a letter from Steve Rogers and holds it out for Luke. Luke takes the thing and reads through it. Seems that Steve needs something for Victoria to do and Luke's team could use a manager. Maybe it's Victoria's job to make sure the bills are paid and the lawn is mowed. She's doing the same job being done by Maria Hill on the Avengers and Sharon Carter on the Secret Avengers. She's here to facilitate. Manage. NOT to interfere, but keep things running and be a connection to the other Avengers teams. The words "second chance" are used.

You can tell Victoria doesn't want to be here. The gun was an incredibly stupid idea. Pointing it at Cage's family was even more stupid. She tries to explain it away but gets a Hulk trademarked handclap as Cage's retort. Victoria flies across the room and loses her grip on the space gun. Words are said. Accusations are made. Victoria decides to leave. She tells them that she didn't want to be here anyway. Luke asks her why she was here then and gets "Because Captain America asked me to." Damn. That's harsh.

As soon as Hand leaves, Cage is already regretting sending her off. After all, Cap asked him to take her on. Second chances. While he's pondering, Jessica is making sure that his thoughts are a bad idea. Hand just pointed a gun at their child. THIS is who they want running the Mansion and being their line to the other Avengers? As an interview goes, Victoria completely failed.

Back in New Orleans, things start heating up again.

This poor city can't catch a break to save it's life. In the real world, it's Katrina and the danger from oil slicks. In the comics, it's magic battle after magic battle. This is the second time in the New Avengers that things have exploded because demons have invaded our dimension. I'm pretty sure Doctor VooDoo's book was filled with stuff like this. After all: Sorceror Supreme.

Drumm's ghost of a brother is demanding that Jericho take off before he loses this fight but VooDoo has other ideas. He want to get the names of these invaders. They aren't talking. Soon, it's Daniel Drumm's spirit that is suffering as his eyes let loose to demon things that grow in size and attack him. Jericho tries to help Daniel out but is powerless. The spirit of his brother disappears in a plume of smoke. The demon possessed heroes demand the Eye of Agamotto once more.

In New York, Victoria Hand has gone out to eat at a rooftop cafe. Luke Cage interupts her delicious meal and this time he's brought a friend. Wolverine. The real one. Luke has some questions and he really wants to hear some truth. He asks her why she went to work for Osborn. We get some of the same answers she gave Steve in Dark Avengers #16. She also says that she saw him going off the deep end and would have probably had to put him down herself at this point if no one else had stepped up. Luke wants to know why Victoria wants to be with the New Avengers. Hand tells them that it's her job to ask the hard questions and get around people's egos to tell them what they should be doing. She thinks that Fury and Stark failed because they couldn't get around their own perspective on how the world should work.

What's Wolverine doing here? He's here to sniff out any lies. He finds none. Luke welcomes Victoria to the New Avengers and tells her to stay well clear of his wife. Jessica Jones is not a fan. Looks like they've got their government approved manager. Now, it's time to assemble some Avengers.

Later on, the new team is meeting around the Avengers Mansion dinner table. We've got Wolverine, Mockingbird, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, Ms. Marvel, Spider-Man, Hawkeye, and... the Thing. Nine members? Wow. Now, chances are some of these guys aren't going to stay long on this line-up. Clint Barton will probably take up more time on the main book and I've got a feeling Spider-Man will also be sticking with the main team. At the same time, it's possible that this team will actually include all these guys. Most of them appear in at least one other book (Wolverine, for example, appears in EVERY book) so this could be seen as a more part-time Avengers team. Luke's got a job over with the Thunderbolts, after all, so his time is already divided.

Thing is also such a cool addition it's not even funny. Luke tells Ben that there's no reason he'd have to leave the Fantastic Four to be on this Avengers roster which further cements that this team will be less active than the main Avengers. You won't notice because it'll still be monthly. Grimm thinks it over for a bit as Luke stretches out his hand to welcome the rocky hero.

And then, Luke finds himself holding the Eye of Agamotto which has just arrived via teleportation spell. He throws it to the ground in a start and everyone stares at it. They have no clue why the Eye has just shown up and no-one is that excited to grab the thing.

Doctor Strange and Daimon Hellstrom appear, surrounded by red smoke effects. Stephen claims that Doctor VooDoo must have just died and the Eye was looking for him. He asks that they hand him the Eye of Agamotto so that he and the Son of Satan can bring vengeance on Jericho Drumm's killers. Luke believes their story and starts asking for specifics only to get a look from Logan that all is not what it seems. Luke has picked up the Eye at this point but isn't about to hand it over. Instead, he shouts out the same demand that Jericho Drumm did. Who are these people?

They still aren't being that talkative. There is power in names, after all. Instead, they just introduce themselves as the rulers of this world. Soon.

Luke grows to giant size and flames burst from his eyes. Looks like someone else has been possessed and, unfortunately, they're holding the Eye of Agamotto.

aoh2.jpgAge of Heroes #2
Writer: Sean McKeever
Artist: David Baldeón

In this story:

• Greg Willis takes off for NYC to attend classes at NYU.

• When I say "takes off," I'm being literal. He's Gravity so he can fly.

• Getting lost, Greg flies down to get his bearings and sees an explosion nearby.

• After calling this in to emergency personnel, Greg puts on his mask and starts saving lives.

• Warhead shows up and a fight happens.

• After beating the tar out of Warhead, Greg flies home to pick up the rest of his Gravity suit. Looks like he's not retiring yet.

The first issue of this storyline was covered HERE .

Gravity is currently appearing in Young Allies. This is a little bit of a prequel to that story where our hero is convinced that he shouldn't retire from the super-hero game.

For that, we start out in Wisconsin where Greg Willis is packing up his belongings for his trip to New York City. It's time to get back to taking college classes. But is it time to go back to being a super-hero? Greg isn't as certain. This is the Heroic Age, after all, and it looks like the Avengers have things locked up on the super-hero front. Is there even a need for Gravity in this new era?

Greg decides that the answer is no. He packs up his dufflebag and gets a ride down to the bus station with his parents. He's not actually taking a bus, though. Even though he's given up being a super-hero, that doesn't mean he doesn't have super powers. Once his parents are out of sight and no-one else is looking, Greg blasts into the sky and starts his flight to New York.

This is easier said than done. Once in the air and travelling, Greg loses track of where he actually IS. He decides to head back down to earth to figure out where he is and where he needs to go next. On the way down, Willis hears an explosion. Sometimes, super-heroing is in your blood. Greg swoops in to check out the situation.

Down close, things just keep looking worse. A fuel truck has exploded and the nearby drivers and passengers are in trouble. Before leaping into action, Greg calls 911 and gets the proper rescue team in to handle things. Before they get there, there are lives to be saved. Greg puts on his Gravity mask (which is the only part of his costume that made the trip) and gets to business.

After rescuing to people from the wreck of their car, he stumbles through explaining his certain hero status. In that time, he's confronted by the man responsible for this disaster: Warhead. This guy claims to be the son of the Radioactive Man but that still doesn't seem possible. The powerset is the same, though. The super-villain is surrounded by flying camera units that are recording this whole thing for the Bastards of Evil's website.

After insulting Gravity's costume (or lack of one), they get down to that fight we're all looking forward to.

It's funny that they chose Warhead for this prequel story since he blew himself up in the first issue of Young Allies. This is probably the last time you'll see him. We'll see. Anyway, Gravity isn't too happy about this jerk and how great he think he and his friends in the Bastards are. Everyone thinks they're the next big thing but the Bastards of Evil seem seriously overrated.

Gravity decides to maintain some distance to protect the innocents on the scene. He expects that Warhead will attack him but, instead, the villain just ignites, taking out the two kids Gravity started this whole thing by rescuing. The supposed son of the Radioactive Man hams it up for the cameras as Greg kicks himself for not being able to predict this bastard's moves.

Kid gloves are off. It's hit after hit as Gravity beats the snot out of his opponent. Even this doesn't make Warhead less cocky. In fact, he claims that the heroes have already lost. Greg tells the bad guy his super-hero name before claiming that the future is already chosen and it's a world of heroes. Not a future filled with jerks and terrorist super-villains. One last punch to Warhead's face drives the point home.

Gravity leaves the fight but doesn't continue to New York. Instead, he turns around and heads home. He's got something to pick up. Unscrewing the vent in his room, Greg grabs the rest of his costume and hits the sky in style in his full Gravity suit.

The world can always use another super-hero.

Maybe he should have screwed that vent back in...

Writer: Brian Reed
Penciler: Chad Hardin

In this story:

• A monster robs an armored car.

• Ace reporter, Norah Winters, is on the scene!

• So is the brand new American Son!

• American Son kills the monster with an American flag!

• Spider-Man shows up and hints that this MIGHT be Harry Osborn.

• Norah writes up the story but it won't see print until she can deliver some actual proof.

Remember the super-cool American Son storyline from Amazing Spider-Man? It looks like that armor wasn't left on the shelf for long! After the fall of Norman Osborn, someone got a hold of the suit and has been flying around in it in the American Son limited series. Who is the American Son? That would be telling. (You'll find out at the end of this write up. ;))

Norah Winters is a journalist for Frontline. While this usually amounts to minor appearances in Amazing Spider-Man, she's an interesting enough character that it was only a matter of time before she appeared... in other Spider-Man related books. We join her in her apartment as she works her way through writing a story. She's having trouble getting through the thing so she just starts typing it out as she remembers it and decides to clean it up later. Right now, it's best to get all that info down before some of it is lost.

Earlier that day, there was a robbery of an armored car. This isn't so unusual in New York City. The fact that it was a monster doing the robbery doesn't even make it stand out. Norah was on the scene and doing her best observing for a later story. She's so close that the danger is very, very apparent.

Who should come to the rescue but the American Son! If you read the Amazing Spider-Man arc, you'll know that the American Son was originally Norman Osborn's son, Harry Osborn. When Osborn fell from power, his special projects were confiscated and the American Son suit disappeared. It looks like it just reappeared. This fight is only interesting because it's just so violent. The monster isn't really a cakewalk but the brutality that American Son employs is truly vicious.

I mean, he stabs him through with a flag pole from the American flag!

Norah was there when the American Son arc was going down and she had information linking the suit to Harry. That doesn't mean Harry's in the suit now but, hey, new super-hero! Norah asks the new guy if she can ask some questions and American Son seems open to an interview.

Then Spider-Man shows up and the whole game changes. Spidey can't believe that this guy just killed the monster. American Son has a hostile attitude towards the Wall-Crawler. Peter Parker is running under the impression that Harry is in the suit and doesn't actually keep his mouth shut about it. American Son takes off before any interview can take place.

Who is the American Son? Well, you can find out in the American Son's own mini-series or you can just continue reading this paragraph. The American Son is NOT Harry Osborn. I think they're going to try their best to keep Harry out of becoming the next Green Goblin or any random iterations. Instead, the new American Son is Gabriel Stacy. Who? Remember the Sins Past arc? Yes? Well, stop it. Gabriel Stacy is the illigitimate son of Norman and Gwen who aged rapidly to adulthood and took some crazy Goblin Juice so that he could be as powerful as, and crazy as, his father. Once going by Grey Goblin, he's now got a split personality where his good bits are trying on the role of super-hero while his bad side is out committing acts of evil. They sort of balance each other out like Sentry-lite. The best part about all this is Gabriel grew up in Paris so he's not even Norman's "American son."

Man, aren't you glad you know that?

Norah hears the name Harry floating around and draws those lines in, thinking this is Harry Osborn in the red, white, and blue armor. She writes up her story for it claiming that the American Son is Harry Osborn based on Spider-Man's reactions. This is not enough for Ben Urich, the publisher of Frontline, to publish the story. Norah needs more confirmation before that bit of libel sees print. If she can get it? Hello, front page. Norah's got a mission.

Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Mark Brooks

In this story:

• The Young Masters plan what to do in the Heroic Age.

• They try to figure out if they're heroes or villains.

• Melter tries tellig them that "hero" and "villain" are just outdated identifiers as Thor flies by their Invisible Mansion.

• Everyone thinks really hard about stuff.

You may remember the Young Masters from their appearances in Dark Reign: Young Avengers. If you don't, you check in on their first appearance by clicking HERE.

We left the team in the middle of an identity crisis. Some of the members were doing their best to be good guys while the others wanted to fall back into more familiar pattern and play bad guy. They haven't cleared anything up as we catch up with them for this Heroic Age revisit.

Melter is still trying to be the best leader he can but he finds it hard to assert his authority. Right now, he's trying to get them all to figure out how to earn some money. Instead of going out to get jobs, Executioner recommends they take down some AIM cells. He wants to do this... for his mother. Sylvie points out that he KILLED his mom but Exe's not listening to that jazz.

The way Sylvie stutters her way through her part of the conversation is troubling. It turns out Melter is trying to get some money together to get her some medical treatment. After Loki was "killed," Sylvie kind of went to pieces.

None of this matters to Big Zero or Egghead. She knows which way the wind has turned and it's definitely against them. The heroes are back on top. The villains are back on the bottom. She figures they're villains so they better come up with a gameplan. Both Executioner and Enchantress balk at being called the bad guys.

Zero's got a gripe against Coat of Arms, though. She knows that Coat has been talking to Speed. Of them all, Zero thinks Coat will probably take a turn for being a hero.

This is only a two page comic so we can't get a cat fight on. Melter tries defusing the situation by saying how ridiculous it is to label yourself either hero or villain. Just then, we get a Thor cameo as he flies by their Invisible Mansion headquarters.

Nothing like the god of thunder to make you realize that maybe terms like "hero" and "villain" actually apply.

Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Ty Templeton

In this story:

• Gauntlet rejoins his unit in Afghanistan.

• When some troops ask him what it was like fighting with real heroes, Gauntlet says that's what he's doing right now.

• Semper Fi, baby.

Sergeant Green was the drill sergeant for Camp Hammond and later joined the Avengers Resistance during the Dark Reign. If you weren't following Avengers: The Initiative from the first issue, you might not realize that he never wanted to leave his men in the Middle East. When the Dark Reign ends with the fall of Norman Osborn, Gauntlet supposedly has his pick of where he'll end up. Instead of joining an Avengers Squad or helping train new super-heroes at Avengers Academy, Green opts to be sent back into the field.

That leads him to Camp Leatherneck. He's sitting in the mess hall when he's approached by three marines who know a bit about his back story. They wonder how he could turn down a chance to join heroes like Steve Rogers, Thor, and Iron Man. It looks like the real heroes have returned. Green looks around the table and races his cup, saying that from where he sits, the real heroes never left.

a2.jpgAtlas #2
Writer: Jeff Parker
Penciler: Gabriel Hardman

In this story:

• The Outhouse's own MISAC gets Super out of a jam by filling in on this issue (since Super couldn't find his own damn copy)

• Thanks, misac! I really appreciate it!

• Enjoy this special fill in and make sure to thank misac yourself!

The first issue was covered HERE .

Issue starts with 3-D Man stumbling straight into Mr. Lao’s lair where he’s in the middle of a meal…of three whole cows. 3-D Man sets out to attack the dragon but he’s saved from Mr. Lao’s wrath. Gorilla Man stops him from attacking and Venus sings an ancient dragonsong (according to an Editor’s Note) calming down the dragon.

With the fighting out of the way they exchange origins with flashbacks and everything! 3-D Man tells them about his recent dreams where he’s taken the place of the original 3-D Man. Bob (the Uranian) uses his telepathy to project these dreams/memories. The memory shows the original team from the 50's fighting zombies. But as they recall these memories and see them they notice there are some differences.

As Bob is about to project another memory M-11 interrupts with a message from Derek Khanata. He’s run into trouble at the Norse branch of Atlas and is requesting back up. Subterranean creatures responsible for the volcano in Iceland are attacking! As our heroes leave for Iceland Mr. Lao comments on having not seen the symbol on 3-D Man suit in a long time. He asks an aide for glyph scrolls to do some research.

The team with 3-D Man in tow arrives in Iceland and see the gigantic monsters controlled by humans.

Our heroes jump right into the fight and they do their thing; Namora smashes, M-11 blasts, and Gorilla Man takes control of one of the monsters and starts clobbering them. Venus sings her song again (the lyrics sound familiar but I can’t place it) and leads them back underground. Using the ship, Bob seals the cave.

With the day saved, they set off for Flagstaff to the home of the men that were the original 3-D Man to investigate their recent attack. On the ship, 3-D Man makes a comment to Bob about a secret he’s keeping from the rest of the team.

Finally we see three-eyed aliens sitting around a table watching the events that transpired in Iceland. They comment on the new 3-D Man connecting with Atlas just like half a century ago.

Writer: Jeff Parker
Penciler: Ramon Rosanas

Yellow Claw and Mr. Lao are overseeing Jimmy’s team on their adventure mentioned earlier fighting a horde zombies. It’s 1958, Maine and the good guys aren’t doing very well against the Atlas created ‘electro-ghouls’; Venus’s song has no effect, Bob has no solar power to draw upon and Gorilla Man is being overrun. But out comes their heavy hitter M-11 and his death-ray. It isn’t enough though, they need something to stop them all at once.

With the implants on the zombies’ backs, they deduct that their power source must be nearby. After a quick search Jimmy finds one of Yellow Claw’s agents. He’s very accommodating after Gorilla Man threatens to rip his face off. The ghouls are sent back to their graves and de-powered. Before Jimmy can finish offering the goon federal protection a small explosive in his brain is detonated.

We see Yellow Claw and Mr. Lao again complementing the team Jimmy has put together. They make mention of charts that have prophesied that he will take control of the known world.

dp24.jpgDeadpool #24
Writer: Daniel Way
Penciler: Carlo Barberi

In this story:

• Deadpool introduces himself to his new employers, the casino owners of Las Vegas.

• Weasel yells at Wade for making him look stupid and DP decides the solution is to switch suits.

• Grizzly attacks again.

• Weasel beats Grizzly uses the Wildcard suit while Deadpool slacks off in the House suit.

• Deadpool joins the celebration party just in time to freak the hell out on a crowd of people. In the House suit.

• DP and Grizzly race off with the stolen money, making Weasel look guilty in the process.

• Weasel's identity gets out to the media. While he's in hiding, Deadpool looks like the good guy.

• Deadpool plans one last hit on the casinos.

The previous story in this series was covered HERE .

The news reports are out on the newest hero to hit Las Vegas and Wildcard is looking good! In fact, he's looking better than Vegas' first super-hero, the House. When Weasel's employers meet with the two heroes and congratulate them, they make sure to mention this. They want to know who Wildcard is. This is something that they weren't supposed to reveal but Deadpool lifts his mask anyway. Wade's not good at this whole plan thing. He's working his own angle.

Naturally, this doesn't go over well with the Vegas people. Didn't they send House to beat up Deadpool in the first place? Now he's wearing an extra suit of armor? As Wade says: They don't have too much choice. The Vegas council decide to work with Deadpool but they have a private meeting with Weasel to chew the poor guy out.

Weasel returns to his headquarters and shouts at Wade for his antics. This is all snowballing out of control. Deadpool tries to make up for it by having them switch suits. If he did so much good in his suit, imagine how good he'll make Weasel look when he uses the House armor? Pretty great, right?

Does this sound bad for Weasel? Hell yes. It's too bad that Deadpool is pretty much uncontrollable. The alarms sound, signalling that Grizzly has returned to Vegas to steal himself a fortune. Before Weasel has even thought about getting in his armor, Deadpool is already there.

They group up on Grizzly this time and make the criminal run... straight to the counting room.

Griz breaks right in and loads up. Standing in his path out are both Wildcard and the House. Grizzly rushes them, knocks them both over and keeps on running.

Deadpool calls it quits at this point. Weasel can't believe that and takes off in the Wildcard armor to take down a dude in a bear suit. Weez is determined to win this fight and there's lots of damage during the fight. Deadpool feels a bit bad for this part of his plan but sits where he is and orders a drink.

In their monitoring room, the Casino owners are ticked at Weasel's attitude. He's just sitting there in his House armor, enjoying a drink. It's a good thing Wildcard is still doing his duty. Sure, the structural damage is higher than they'd like but the results look promising.

The fight between Weasel and Grizzly could go either way. They both get their shots in. Weasel activates a beam cannon on his back and uses it to pretty much end the fight. With Grizzly staggering on the ground, Weasel uses the moment to vent some frustration out with some special words on how much he hates bullies. This is all about Deadpool, by the way.

It almost looks like he's going to hit him again with the beam cannon but, at the last minute he pulls a Mr. Miyagi move and honks Grizzly's nose. It's a victory for Wildcard! That means the casino owners think Deadpool did good again.

Speaking of, DP shows up in the House armor just in time to bask in the glory of victory. He lifts up Wildcard's arm like a champ and they both enjoy some nice applause. Then, Wade hears a boo and freaks out, saying he deserves the adulation. He saved the planet, after all. No-one believes that even though it's true. Back during Secret Invasion, Wade was the guy who got the Skrull Queen killing gun. It's a secret from everyone.

Deadpool freaks out all over the place and even backhands Weasel in the Wildcard armor. In the end, he grabs the money from the counting room and takes off with Grizzly. Hey, the former T-Bolt was just playing possom. That's not very bear-like.

All of this makes Weasel look TERRIBLE. The Casino owners feel no loyalty to him and they reveal his identity to the news networks who have a field day with it. Deadpool meets up with Weasel's bosses and tries to explain why the House lost it. It's because he saw how disrespected he was and thought they had betrayed HIM. Out in the desert, we catch up with Weasel panicking in the Wildcard armor.

It's all going to work out, though. Deadpool has an idea when Weasel will strike next. He thinks it'll happen right in the morning. That's because he and Grizzly plan on hitting the casinos again in the early AM.

jim83.jpgJourney Into Mystery #83
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciler: Jack Kirby

In this story:

• Dr. Don Blake visits Norway!

• Rock aliens invade and test out their crazy abilities in sight of a local fisherman!

• That fisherman tries to warn the authorities but no-one believes him... except for Don Blake!

• Blake hikes out to investigate and finds the same aliens.

• They also notice him and the race is on!

• Blake traps himself in a cave and finds an old stick.

• Don tries using the stick to lever up a boulder blocking another exit to the cave but it doesn't work.

• In frustration, Dr. Blake strikes the rock with the cane and turns into Thor!

• Thor easily lifts the boulder and exits the cave.

• Thor tests out his abilities.

• The rock aliens begin their invasion and find earth's defenses to be very weak.

• Thor swings his hammer into the game and defeats the rock aliens, escaping without being seen by the authorites to end the story.

August, 1962. This was finally when Stan Lee kicked the fledgling Marvel Universe into high gear! Fantastic Four had reached issue 5 and Incredible Hulk reached it's second issue the month prior (both were bi-monthly) when the team of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced their next hero into their line-up. Unlike their last creation who was more monster than super-hero, Thor had all the trappings of the genre. In time, Stan and Jack would explore a good deal of Marvel's Asgardian mythology but when this thing started, it was basically used as a means to an end. Thor seemed more like a power source for the mortal, Dr. Donald Blake, and the enemies were typical alien invaders instead of the other gods that would appear later.

Thor wasn't alone for the month of August; another Marvel hero made his debut in the final issue of Amazing Fantasy #15: Spider-Man. Both Thor and Spidey made their first appearances in books that were already being published by Atlas/Marvel. This continued the trend begun with Hank Pym's first appearance: phasing out the current Twilight Zone-like stories (which still appeared side by side with the super-hero work for quite a while) without starting brand new books, which had been the case for both the Fantastic Four and Incredible Hulk. Marvel was obviously not sure what their audience wanted and was hedging their bets with a more conservative approach.

Donald Blake himself is an enigma. It seems like he was originally intended to be the true personality for Thor while the god of thunder was basically a costume he put on. When the title got it's bearings, Blake would disappear for issues at a time and it became apparent that Thor himself was in the driver's seat. The Donald Blake personality was originally forced on Thor to teach the son of Odin something about humility but, in later years, Blake is a personality all on his own. He's not a very INTERESTING personality but he's his own man nonetheless.

Our issue opens with Doctor Donald Blake vacationing in Norway. What we might notice from these very small panels is that Blake walks with a cane. He's got a bum leg which technically makes him handicapped but he usually manages fine with just the cane so it's not too impairing. After he gets a good look at the coastline, Don turns away just in time to miss the landing space craft.

Our aliens for this issue are Stone Men from the planet Saturn. In time, we'll learn that they are really Kronans from the planet Ria and have just been using a moon orbiting Saturn as a staging ground but that's not important for this first issue. It's also not too important that Korg of the Warbound (from the Planet Hulk storyline) is one of their number but it IS a nice little bit of trivia. Right now, this invasion force of orange rock creatures are more interested in testing out their abilities than giving us a clear picture of their origins. Aliens from Saturn would be enough for now.

Abilities? These guys have some abilities. Super strength, nigh invulnerability, incredible technology... the Stone Men are pretty formidably and they like to test all of their powers for our benefit (we have to learn all this somehow). The one ability they could use is some sort of radar. While they're busy showing off, a local fisherman sees them and makes off for town to spread the word.

No-one believes our heroic fisherman. Maybe he's told some tall tales in his day. More likely it's the fact that you usually don't believe when someone tells you an alien invasion is on your doorstep. They just think he's drunk and/or lying. Only Doctor Blake wonders if this old fisherman is telling the truth. The next day, he takes a hike to the location the fisherman mentioned to do some investigating of his own.

Blake is startled to find that the aliens are real. We're surprised to learn they haven't done anything yet. What, are they still testing out their abilities? Anyway, the aliens announce that they need to kill anyone who finds them just as Don makes his presence known by snapping a loud branch at his feet. The Stone Men start chasing him. You'd think this would be a simple matter since Blake relies on a cane but the Stone Men don't seem particularly fast. Even when the doctor loses his walking stick, he still manages to reach the relative safety of a cave before the aliens can overtake him. Heck, you've gotta be wondering if he's even being followed at this point.

Donald Blake is certain that the invaders are right behind him and thinks this cave is little protection. Even after finding a back way out of the cave, he's still stuck. It's covered by a massive rock that Blake has no chance of moving. He sits and sulks at his poor fate. In sulking position, he somehow activate a mechanism that opens up another chamber in this cave. Inside on a raised rock platform, sits a simple stick. Looks like Don Blake has solved his walking troubles again and, if he's lucky, he'll be able to use this stick to pry that boulder out of his way so he can escape the cave.

It's a no go. The rock is just too big. In frustration, Dr. Blake strikes the rock with his new cane and a remarkable transformation occurs. In a flash of blinding light, Doctor Donald Blake turns into Thor. His new walking stick turns into the hammer, Mjolnir. On the side of the hammer, the new Thor finds this inscription:

"For a good time call Sif. 555-243-1854"

Oh, wait, I mean:

"Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of... Thor"

This pretty much means anyone worthy can be Thor. What it translated into later is that only Thor or someone worthy could even lift the hammer. For now, it's still Donald Blake talking within Thor's body. No hidden memories are revealed. In fact, once Thor lifts the obstructing rock out of the way and leaves the cave, he has to try and figure out what being Thor means from what he remembers from school.

He remembers that Thor "was the noblest and strongest of all the Norse gods." and that Thursday was named for him. After that, it's time to test out his abilities. The most important of these is that he reverts to Donald Blake when separated from Mjolnir for about a minute. The hammer seems to hold most of the power here. Sure, Thor is super strong but it looks like lightning and storms are created by manipulating the hammer. Thor can also throw Mjolinir off to destroy whatever he aims it at and the hammer will return to his hand when done. When he's become familiar with his powers, Thor changes back into Don Blake so that he can send out his own warning about the Stone Men.

This will reach the world too late. The aliens have already begun their invasion and encounter some NATO jet fighters as resistance. The Stone Men activate a holographic generator that creates the image of a giant dragon before the defending pilots. This is MUCH scarier than an invasion fleet and the pilots eject from their planes before they fly into the giant beast. Missiles are launched at the aliens next but these are repulsed by a forcefield. Just like in ID4.

From the ground, Don Blake has seen just how defenseless the world is to the invading Stone Men and enters the fight as Thor. He takes to the air and we learn another power possessed of Thor's hammer. Thor can't ACTUALLY fly. What he does is throws his hammer into the air and catches the unbreakable strap, following the hammer. In mid-air, he can redirect himself by throwing Mjolnir once more. This is the comic book equivalent of the videogame "double jump." Both make no real sense but who doesn't love a double jump?

Thor doesn't fly up to the aliens' ship. Instead, he lands in the middle of the Stone Men camp and fights the rocky aliens on the ground. The invaders plan on capturing this super-hero alive so they can do some probing. They drop a cage on Thor's head but that only holds the god of thunder for a moment before he tears the bars apart and escapes.

The Stone Men change up their strategy and decide that capturing this blond warrior is probably a bad idea. They raise their superior weapons to blast Thor into oblivion. In response, Thor throws his mighty hammer which somehow attracts the aliens' disintegrators. Unarmed, the aliens sic a killer robot on their opponent. Another toss of his hammer shatters the best of the Stone Men's weapons.

And this is just one guy. The alien invaders retreat, worried that more like Thor will appear. Thor raises his hammer in triumph.

When NATO soldiers start arriving, Thor changes back into Donald Blake to avoid them. He's not ready to reveal himself to the public. They might think him some strange scientific curiousity and start the experiments. The arriving soldiers don't know why the aliens have retreated but they know that the man limping around with a cane probably wasn't responsible.

Thus begins the adventures of Thor, god of thunder. Over the years, Thor has had a wealth of tales all over the Marvel Universe and is a founder of the Avengers to boot. The Siege focused on Thor and his Asgardian people defending against Norman Osborn and HAMMER. Currently, Thor is appearing in his own title as well as The Avengers. Since there's a movie coming out next year, expect more and more Thor books to appear as Marvel gets their library prepped for the occasion.

And with that, I end yet another exciting installment of Super Reads! Once again, thanks go out to misac for his assistance with Atlas #2!

Until next time: Excelsior!

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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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