It looks like I'm going to have to jump!
Today, we check out Namor: The First Mutant #2, X-Men: Curse of the Mutants- X-Men vs. Vampires #1, Avengers: Prime #3, Captain America #610, Heroic Age: One Month To Live #5, Atlas #5, X-Men Legacy #240, and Blast to the Past for X-Men #10. Enjoy and spread the word!
Hey kids. It's time for another delving deep into some of the most event related Marvel books.
Looking to read up on everything from Secret Invasion to Siege and beyond? Check no further than this link right HERE.
And now, we go under the sea.
Namor: The First Mutant #2
Writer: Stuart Moore
Artist: Ariel Olivetti
In this issue:
• Under the sea. Under the sea! Darling, it's better down where it's wetter, take it... wait, what are we talking about?
• Namor finds a kid trying to trade up on his position in life and seems to support it.
• In New Atlantis, the Sub-Mariner is consulting with Jian on how to fight a war with the Aqueos.
• Emma Frost and Alani Ryan show up with information on the Vault of Law and confirm that some Aqueos probably has some royal blood or they would never have been able to open it to put Dracula's head inside.
• Husam and Abira show up to help out in the war effort and to avenge the turning of Husni.
• The Aqueos attack! Fun all over New Atlantis!
• While Namor leads the defense effort, Husam and Abira try to get the lights on.
• After the light scare off the Aqueos, the Sub-Mariner makes plans to take the fight back to the sea vamps.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
New Atlantis is the home of most of Namor's people after his kid was responsible for destroying Old Atlantis and most of the Atlanteans were sent up to the surface as sleeper agents or spread all over the ocean. It's also at the base of Utopia, the island home of the world's mutant population or at least a good number of them.
The city is still in the process of being assembled. There's even a whole caste of people who's whole purpose is to put buildings together. It's a hereditary existance but that might be changing with the new capitol. One family has a son who has dreams of being an engineer and has even begun work on a poison detector. Namor happens by and tells the family that when their kid gets the device working, he's like to see it. In New Atlantis, you can change your stars.
Right now, Namor has a lot more on his mind that the social structure of his kingdom. There's the whole war with the sea vampires, the Aqueos, that is connected with the X-Men mini-event, Curse of the Mutants. It's a really wierd situation where the Aqueos did whatever they wanted and the Atlanteans just took it know as the Shallow Peace. This was shattered when Namor and a small team of hunters (known as the Trident) infiltrated Aqueos territory to recover the Vault of Law which was stolen from Old Atlantis just hours earlier. This blatant... DOING SOMETHING ABOUT BEING TERRORIZED BY SEA VAMPIRES pissed off the Aqueos and it's all Namor's fault. Yeah. Heavy is the crown that'll get blamed for whatever the hell they do.
Now, Namor and one of his subordinates, Jian, prepare the defenses of Atlantis. It's bleak. There are only 36 soldiers in New Atlantis. Commander Krang's troops are busy fighting the Aqueos in another area. So this is what Namor has to defend his new capitol.
Jian is about the only Atlantean I like because he doesn't immediately blame his king for everything going wrong in his life. That would make him the only Atlantean to do so. The soldier is adamant that a direct assault on the sea vampires would neutralize the threat even when Namor tells him the story about how he cut the Aqueos leader apart last issue.
Just in case we forgot that the Sub-Mariner was serving double duty with the X-Men, Emma Frost and young X-Man, Loa show up with the Vault of Law. The royal device was sent up to the X-Club for examination but there were no findings to report. Alani has a question though: if the Vault of Law can only be opened by one of Royal Blood and it was CLOSED when the Aqueos stole it, how did Dracula's head get inside? That thought HAD crossed Namor's mind but he doesn't have any answers. Yet.
Emma offers the X-Men's help in defending New Atlantis even though Utopia is also under attack. Namor, being an Atlantean, responds that Atlantis very recieves any help from the surface. The surface and the X-Men are only a burden to him and his people. Please don't look at Dark Reign: The List- X-Men for a direct contradiction of this because this is Atlantean posturing at it's finest and I doubt the Sub-Mariner even believes what he's saying. Sea people are all dicks and you just have to get around the gruff and unruly exterior so you can find... well, more gruff and unruly interior.
Speaking of bitter and angry Atlanteans, Husam and Abira arrive in Atlantis from Old Atlantis. If you're looking at your maps, you'll know that Old Atlantis is in the Atlantic Ocean while New Atlantis is off the shore of San Francisco. It's quite a swim and Abira hasn't handled the trip well because of injuries she sustained on her way to the new capitol. Emma and Alani head for the surface while Abira regains her wits.
And now that the X-Men are gone, I can talk about them behind their backs. For some reason, all Marvel heroes need to survive underwater or in the vacuum of space is a bubble over their heads. At least Loa's suit ALMOST looks like it could be a swimsuit. Emma went under in her normal X-Men costume with her boobs sticking out and the gloves that go up to her elbows. And a cape. Let's not forget how she needed to wear a cape under water. It's one of the most moronic undersea moments I've seen in quite a while and I just wanted both of these two X-Men to sink straight to the bottom for their ridiculous wardrobe (Alani could have at least tried on some flippers). I wonder how much air those bubbles even hold.
OK, back to the story now that my rant is over. Abira is better now and tells Namor of the latest attacks on her people. She then goes into how she never wanted to be a soldier but it looks like this is a perfect time for her to join up or die. Namor's not ready to just soldierfy her right now but since she's here, she can tell him about anything unusual about the Aqueos attacks. Abira tells the king that Husam's brother, Husni, was there. The Aqueos vamped him up and the process changed Husni in more ways than it would a surface vamp. The new creature of the night has no eyes. Husam swears he'll release his brother from this fate worse than death.
Outside, vamp fish begin attacking the builders of New Atlantis.
For some reason, Namor had the Oudvrou brought to his royal court. Oud was once the only known Atlantean to survive an Aqueos attack but she doesn't have that distinction anymore. She's bitter but probably not because her World Record has been taken from her. She's just Atlantean. It's how they all are. Damn Atlanteans. Instead of offering any useful insight on how to defeat the Aqueos, Oudvrou tells everyone a story about how Namor wanted to see the surface world and so his grandfather tied him to the tallest tower in Old Atlantis, telling the youth a bunk story about how the tower sometimes rose above the water's surface. It never did and all the Atlanteans laughed at the young prince. Because the best thing a royal can do to a future king is have the population laugh at him. No wonder the Sub-Mariner has respect issues.
Everyone waits for Namor to shout "Imperius Rex" and pound the living crap out of this feeble old lady who dares challenge his name in his own court but they'll be waiting a long time. While the Oudvrou was telling us all an embarrassing story of Namor's youth, the Aqueos have been tearing the citizens of New Atlantis apart. The lights go off, allowing the sea vampires free reign on the city.
Namor and his court rise in defense. Namor and Jian join the warriors and take on the Aqueos directly. Abira and Husam are sent below to return power to the city. The Sub-Mariner faces off against one of the Aqueos with no eyes or nose. It's actually a pretty freaky look. The vamp drops a number of vampire eels that attack Namor. As the king of Atlantis pulls them off, the eels head on down to find easier pickings.
Namor might be fighting a creepy vamp but he's also thinking back on the past to when one of his ancestors was forced into battle with ancient Athens. He remembers the resolve the ancient king of Atlantis shows and runs his current opponent through with a rusty metal beam sharpened to a point.
Down on the ocean floor, Abira and Husam are working on getting the lights back on when they're attacked by a school of vampire fish. Husam fights them off as Abira works on restoring power. The fish break through Husam and try attacking Abira but Husam swims in to block them again. It's personal for him. Husam has already lost a father and a brother to the Aqueos and he's not about to lose anyone else. Abira is... precious to him.
Up top, Namor realizes that the Aqueos have their own agenda with the Atlanteans that isn't connected to the larger vampire war. No, something about this makes Namor believe that it's not at all "just business." The Aqueos are striking against them with a purpose that screams "personal." Before the Sub-Mariner can explain this to Jian, the cavalry arrives. Husam has a giant light and he's not afraid to use it. The Aqueos run for the shadows.
The king of Atlantis knows that this is only a temporary victory. The Aqueos are merely testing the waters on what it'll take to completely destroy New Atlantis. No, the only way he'll stand a chance is if he does exactly what his ancestors have done. It's time to strike back. He orders up those 36 soldiers for a counter attack.
X-Men: Curse of the Mutants- X-Men vs. Vampires #1
Writer: James Asmus
Artist: Tom Raney
In this story:
• Husk gets hit on by a vampire and drops into an obvious trap.
• Of course, she knows that and is dropping into it to find out information on Jubilee.
• Husk sheds her skin and becomes wood. The vampire killing begins.
• The vamps light her on fire but that just makes her more angry at them.
• Finally, the first vampire tries chopping her apart with an axe.
• Paige uses the handle to stake the vamp.
• She doesn't get much information but there's still a lot of dead vampires.
Everyone in this issue wants to be Buffy the Vampire Slayer. You know what I'm talking about. The girl who looks like she'll be the first one to be killed by the vampires but then ends up fighting them all off in super-hero fashion? This book is full of them. Well, probably not the Magneto story but the rest are all in that mold. First up in the Buffy position is Paige Guthrie.
Guthrie is taking the disappearance of Jubilee personally because they were both in Generation X together and that's a class of mutants that has a low survival rate as it is. She's out looking for leads and runs right into a vampire. This vamp tries playing it smooth but we all know what book we're reading so the vamp thing is pretty obvious. Paige is lead into an old abandoned building where she starts making out with the killer as other vampires swarm the darkened room.
Guthrie mentions that there are other people in the room when her make out partner drops some fangs into her skin. The plant right into wood. Paige Guthrie's power is to shed her skin and reveal a variety of things underneath. This time, she opted for wood to make staking that much easier. She demands to know where her friend is.
The lights come on and the vampires tell her nothing. They only threaten her so Husk does some threatening of her own, tearing off the rest of her skin and getting ready for a fight.
And that's what she gets. After taking out a few of the vampires, she's faces with her make-out partner from earlier. We'll call him Bill because I hate not having names for people I have to talk about over and over again. Bill thinks he has wood girl's number and tells Husk she should have turned into silver. Then he lights Paige on fire.
This doesn't actually do much. Paige just gets back to work and tells Bill that the next day, none of this will matter.
Bill's last idea is to grab the nearest axe and try chopping the X-Man in two. Again, this doesn't do much to Guthrie. The axe gets caught inside her on the first blow. Bill tells Paige that Jubilee is obviously not here but he can probably lead her to where the firecracker is. All it will take is Husk changing back into a human form. Paige isn't a sucker and knows that Bill is peddling goods he can't deliver. She rams the wooden end of the axe into Bill's heart.
Vampires keep far too much wood around. Y'know?
Writer: Christopher Sequeira
Artist: Sana Takeda
In this story:
• Maybe they should have kept this and the earlier story separated by another story because they're far too similar.
• Dazzler hits the clubs looking for vampires. All she finds is a loser pretending to be more important than he really is.
• That loser actually attracts a real vampire.
• Allison chases the vampire back to his hideout and meets a bunch of vampires stuck in the seventies scene.
• After learning that her light powers are no good on the amulet wearing vampires, Dazzler switches tactics and uses her powers on everything else that'll give her an advantage.
• Allison tries staking the lead vampire but gets her original target instead.
• The lead vampire explains how they stay away from feeding on human blood and try to protect their human families even though their loyalty to Xarus got them a whole bunch of light bending amulets and puts a huge hole in their story.
• Dazzler feels bad about killing the vampire that was eating people. Yes, really.
Yep. Here's the next Buffy tale. This one stars Alison Blaire. Dazzler.
She's hitting the clubs because there have been a lot of recent vampire attacks in the area and someone with her talent and reputation would probably fit in better than Wolverine. Still she's been clubbing all night and has only gotten one bite and it's not the vamp kind. This dude keeps on trying to tell her how important he is but Daz isn't falling for it. The dude keeps on getting terminology wrong for his high paying lawyer job and the lines don't work on the world-hardened Blaire. She used to see Longshot. There's a guy who could make these lines sing.
Anyway, Dazzler leaves the bar with her unwelcome companion following her out the door because he still thinks he can score. Alison starts telling him off for all the lying, turns around, and finds a vampire ready to make a meal out of Romeo. The X-Man shoots the vamp with a light beam. This frees the victim but the vampire runs off.
Alison is in hot pursuit. She follows the vampire, Ivory, into Studio 13. This is a vampire club stuck in the seventies that is run by Sheba Sugarfangs. Sheba acknowledges that Ivory broke the rules but says that she'll take care of it, offering the X-Man a chance to leave before things get ugly.
Dazzler tries to dust the entire room with a solar light burst only to learn that everyone is protected by those light bending amulets that are all the rage this time of year. Sheba tells Alison that the amulets are a gift from Xarus for their loyalty. Again, Sheba tells Dazzler that Ivory will pay for his surface crimes and tells Blaire to leave. Again, Dazzler sticks around.
When Alison tries to nab Ivory, Sheba steps in and we get a girl fight for our money. Since Dazzler's light powers can't dust Sheba, she directs them at the large disco ball and brings it crashing down right next to the lead vamp. Now, a little quibble. The amulets only bend the dangerous part of the sun's light. That means a laser beam should still be effective. Alison isn't all solar flares. Ah well. Back to our tale.
It looks like Dazzler just remembered that her light powers are multi-functional. She blinds Sheba with a light blast and then grabs some conveniently located wood to get her stake on. Right as the wooden implement is about to end the life of Sheba Sugarfangs forever, Ivory steps in and takes the killing blow. Justice, as they say, is served.
So mission accomplished, right? Now, all Alison needs to do is go up topside and bring down a hell of a lot more X-Men to take out the rest of this nest. Naw. That'd be too logical.
No, Sheba feeds Dazzler a story about how they're all good vampires that had to leave the world behind but still stick around to protect what's left of their human families. They have a rule against feeding on humans and it's a rule that Ivory broke because he had a mean case of the munchies. As I said in the bullet points, this doesn't make a lick of sense. Xarus isn't about to pass out light bending amulets to a group of vampires that AREN'T going to harm humans. That's just counter-productive.
Anyway, the Club 13 vampires fade out, leaving Alison Blaire to feel guilty about protecting the city from dangerous blue vampires.
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Mick Bertilorenzi
In this story:
• A vampire named Damen watches as Rogue patrols the streets and kills vampires.
• Damen protects Rogue from a vamp attack because he sees his former lover in Rogue's soul.
• What he's actually sensing is Martha Johansson who was just taking Rogue out for a drive while the X-Man slept.
• After trying out a kiss, Martha realizes that Damen isn't alive and Damen allows her to kill him.
Oh, man. Get ready for this one because it'll piss off the historian in you. There's also a lame TrueBlood joke but I can forgive it that because I don't watch the show and the history buff in me is really enough rage for one story.
Meet Damen. Damen is a vampire of Indian decent and he's watching as Rogue stakes another vampire on the streets of San Francisco. This seems to be a moment for Rogue because she's stunned that she was able to do it. Before she can really celebrate her triumph, more vampires hit the scene and threaten to kill her and the victim she just rescued from the first staked vamp.
Damen jumps into the street but not to help out the vampires. He's here to hinder them. When the vampires don't leave and even make a horrible joke about Rogue looking like Anna Paquin from X-Men and True Blood fame, Damen starts cutting off heads. The other vamps hit the road.
So why is Damen helping Rogue? It's because Rogue is the reincarnated soul of his dead lover, Rue. Get ready for the historical inaccuracy...
Over two hundred years ago, Damen was a major domo of a nice fancy home, probably in a southern state. He had a secret romance with the girl, Rue, but when the Ku Klux Klan found out, they killed her for dating outside the european gene pool. Damen not being African didn't stop this. It turns out you can be a bigot and hate more than black people. Damen mourned and mourned some more but then he remembered that Rue would be reincarnated some day and got turned into a vampire so he's be able to wait for her.
OK. Ready for my rant? "Over two hundred years ago" would place this flashback in a time before 1811. The Ku Klux Klan which appears in the next panel was formed in 1865. You know. AFTER the Civil War. There's also a burning cross in the picture but this only became part of the movement in the 1920's. In short, I call BS on the Klan being involved. Oh, sure, I'm not saying that there weren't a LOT of people around who would have killed Rue for being involved with a man from India. I'm just saying they weren't wearing pointy white hats. It could be artist error in trying to depict a scene in a limited number of panels and having to make it REALLY easy to identify these men as bigots but it still makes the story a historically inaccurate.
But, I mean, Captain America DIDN'T really fight in World War II so maybe the Marvel Universe had KKK members before the real world did. I don't know. Stop making me scared Peter David is going to show up and yell at me!
Anyway, Damen senses Rue's soul in Rogue's body. What he doesn't know is that it's not Rogue's soul he's sensing. Get ready for the twist!
See that brain under glass? That's Martha Johansson. She saw that Rogue was asleep and took the X-Man's body out for a test drive. Let's examine the ethics behind that now because it's a horrible thing to do. "Oh, sorry, Rogue. I didn't know I'd get you killed when I decided to play super-hero in your body. My bad." I guess being a brain in a jar will make you selfish and long for limbs. I get that. Maybe make them willing partners, though?
Damen is horrified that his resurrected lover doesn't have a body but Martha isn't too upset about it. It turns out she can steal bodies when their defenses are down so bonus. Still, when Damen offers to make Rogue a vampire with Martha's soul in charge, Johansson doesn't immediately say no. It's a tempting offer and Martha obviously isn't as heroic as she'd like to be.
To decide things, Martha uses Rogue's powers and kisses Damen. She's hoping to see what it's like to be a vampire but what she gets is... nothing. Rogue's powers don't work on Damen because he's dead. They only work on the living. She tells Damen all this and it looks like he's already clued into that fact. Heck, he was probably just hanging around because of his determination to find Rue.
Now that he's found her, there's not a lot holding him here, especially with Martha's revelation all out there for him and her to see. Damen hands Martha his blade and prepares for the end. One slice and it's all over.
Writer: Rob Williams
Artist: Droug Braithwaite
In this story:
• Magneto goes into battle with the X-Men to take down a vampire nest.
• During the fight, he sees a familiar face among the vamps and gives chase.
• One of the vampires is Leo Zimm, a childhood friend of Magnus. They were separated during the gathering of Jews.
• After exchanging some stories, Magneto puts his helmet back on and probably kills Zimm.
• He returns to the surface and reports to Cyclops but isn't very forthcoming.
There are probably few Marvel Characters with more names than Magneto. For years, he was just Magneto. Then he was Magnus. In the nineties, we were given the name Erik Magnus Lensherr. In the last decade, we learned his birth name was Max Eisenhardt. Sure, it's no Cable Nathan Dayspring Askani'son Summers which is a crazy mouthful but it's actually more confusing. Marvel, stop renaming Magneto. You're just confusing the poor children. And me.
This story is actually pretty straightforward. Magneto prepares for battle and he fears for those he'll kill in the battle. There's also a lot of symbolism that it's the helmet that makes Magnus MAGNETO. He stares the thing down before entering battle and it might be that he believes the helmet allows him to be as powerful and ruthless as he is as Magneto. Or maybe he just really likes how cool the helmet makes him.
Cyclops has a mission and calls Magneto in for it. Cyke, Magneto, Wolverine, Angel, and Pixie are taking out a vampire nest. At one point in the fight, Scott's life is in danger and he gets help from a superior acting Magneto. Right after this, Angel loses his vampire opponent and Magneto decides to give chase.
You know the problem with Angel? He shouldn't be a combatant. I mean, if Warren is willing to become Archangel, then cool but as a guy with wings? It just doesn't make any sense. Keep in mind that this is probably the most poorly assembled X-Squad to deal with vampires. They didn't even bring along any wooden stakes. They're just laying into the vampires with their powers, none of which is being able to turn into wood or fire silver or anything that would actually kill a vampire. Even Magneto's powers should be on the ineffective side. I guess he could grab onto the iron in a vampire's stolen blood but that's about it.
So Mags is in hot pursuit when the vampire turns around to greet his new opponent. It looks like the two know each other. The surprise is enough to make Magneto blow up a section of this underground nest. Wolverine tries chewing Magnus out but the master of magnetism still has a vampire to catch.
The vampire's name is Leo Zimm and the two meet up further into the nest. Leo Zimm was also gathered up in Poland when the Nazi were taking away the Jews. The last Magneto remembers of Leo is when Zimm was taken on another train. It turns out that Leo never reached his destination and got vamped up instead. Zimm thinks this is a blessing but that opinion isn't shared by his former friend.
Magnus accuses Leo of killing innocent people because of his curse but those are words that Zimm can throw right back at his childhood friend. It's not like Magneto doesn't have blood on his hands.
Duty is duty, though. Magneto is here to kill a lot of vampires and Leo Zimm fits the MO. Max Einhardt puts his helmet back on, symbolizing his return to being Magneto.
A bit later, Magneto rises from the tunnel and greets his fellow X-Men. Cyclops asks if the vampire was killed. Magneto throws off the X-Men Leader's arm and pretty much says "OF COURSE IT WAS TAKEN CARE OF! DON'T YOU SEE MY SYMBOLIC HELMET ON MY HEAD!?"
We end with a view of that helmet resting on the ground. Or a table. It's really dark.
Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Bill Sienkiewicz
In this story:
• Reprint of Uncanny X-Men #159, yo!
• The X-Men arrive at the apartment of Misty Knight but find her roommate, Harmony Young, instead. She's freaked out because the X-Men are kind of... freaks. Harmony calms down when she learns they have an open invite from Misty to crash here.
• Kitty has to go meet her parents but she wants Storm to come with. Unfortunately, Storm doesn't have street clothes so Harmony will have to provide.
• Hours later, Kitty calls from her parents' place to check on Storm and finds that Ororo hasn't returned yet.
• Storm is picked up with a neck wound and brought to a hospital where the doctor doubts she'll survive.
• By the time Wolverine and Colossus arrive, Storm's condition has stabilized to the point where her life is no longer in any danger. Ororo gets dressed and goes back to Misty's place.
• At Misty Knight's place, Storm gets progressively worse. Kitty eventually shows up and picks up on the fact that just maybe Ororo was bitten by a vampire.
• When Kitty leaves, Monroe lets in Dracula.
This is the first half of Uncanny X-Men #159 and it's so condensed that you won't even notice it's only the first eleven pages. The X-Men concept was certainly at it's most eclectic. Seriously, this is the X-Men NOT dealing with the mutant issue EVERY issue. They were fighting in space, facing off against dinosaurs in the Savage Land, and even meeting up with the Lord of Vampires. Some fans may think that it's not an X-Men concept unless they're dealing with the mutant issue all the time but, to counter-point: Zzzzzzzzzzz.
The X-Men are in New York City and that means they're crashing at a friend's place entirely unannounced and without even knocking on her door. This is the apartment of Misty Knight but she's not in at the moment. Instead, her model roommate, Harmony Young, is there to get the shock of her life as Nightcrawler teleports in almost right on top of her. She is, to say the least, shocked out of her mind.
Harmony's a pretty good sport so when the freaks who just broke into her apartment tell her that they have a standing invite from her roommate, she just goes with it instead of calling the cops and getting these strangers out of her home. Hell, she doesn't even call Misty to check out the story. Even further Hell: when Storm needs an outfit to accompany Kitty when the young X-Man visits her parents, Harmony leaps at the chance to dress up the X-Men leader. The only obvious explanation is that Harmony is high on something.
Storm may be dressed in high fashion for the early eighties but she doesn't look it. Both her and Kitty looked pretty bland in their new outfits. The other X-Men are free with the compliments but at least Logan is drunk at the time so take that as you will. The two X-Ladies hit the streets for a visit with the Pryde family.
I wish I had the previous issue or five in front of me so I could explain where they're actually going. Kitty's parents live in Chicago and the X-Men are definitely in New York City. Now, it's not impossible to believe that Kitty's parents are in town for one reason or another but I wonder why they couldn't make the trip up to the X-Mansion. Again, maybe there's a reason the team isn't at the mansion that I'm not remembering since it's been a while since I read these issues. Regardless, Kitty's parents are in town and the X-Men are staying at Misty's place for a while.
Meanwhile, in New Mexico, the Summers family is having it's own reunion. Scott and Alex recently found out that the Starjammer leader, Corsair, is actually their long lost father. Corsair knew this for some time but kept it a secret from Scott. I think it was because of shame, mostly but the dude also seemed to enjoy his life as a space pirate.
This has more of an effect on Cyclops than it does on Havok. Alex Summers was adopted and had two parent raise him and love him in a healthy family setting. Scott stayed in the orphanage until his mutant abilities emerged. At that point, a super-villain took him out and used the young mutant to commit crimes before Cyke was rescued by Professor X and given a home in the X-Mansion. This would be less healthy especially when we later learn that the orphanage was run by Mr. Sinister. The two brothers discuss their back stories while doing some training as the sun sets.
Alex and Scott return to the house Havok shares with Lorna Dane. Lorna's another orphan child who MUCH later learns she's ACTUALLY the daughter of Magneto. Yeah, Mags just has kids everywhere and apparently keeps forgetting which ones are his.
The new family sits down to enjoy a delicious meal.
Scott asks if his dad will be sticking around for long but we all know that's not happening. Space pirate. You just can't walk away from that lifestyle.
We leave our Summers family reunion and return to the apartment of Misty Knight. Misty isn't home but the X-Men have made the place theirs in her absence. Harmony doesn't mind because she finds the guys attractive, especially the blue one that keeps flirting with her. Nightcrawler's macking skills are thrown off when the phone rings. It's Kitty. She tells them that she's hanging with the family and was just calling to talk to Storm. Ororo hasn't checked in yet even though she left the Prydes hours ago and was heading straight back. While the X-Men wonder where their leader went off to, we cut to an alley where Storm has been attacked and has two distinct holes in her neck. Yeah, vampires.
Luckily, someone finds Storm and the X-Men leader is brought to St. Vincent's Hospital. None of the doctors give her much of a chance of living through the night but it's remarkable that she's lived this long so who knows?
The police check Storm's wallet and learn where she was staying in New York City. Soon, Piotr and Logan arrive to stand by their leader's side while she fights for her life. By the time the two X-Men get there, conditions have changed. It turns out the neck wound wasn't nearly as severe as everyone thought and even now Ororo is walking around. Her doctor, Dr. Ohara, leads the two to Storm's room where already Monroe is getting ready to leave. The doctor tries to discourage this but Ororo fears that her staying would give away the fact that she's a mutant and that might endanger the entire team. No, she's out of there.
Before she leaves, Storm looks out the window and shivers. Something about the night scares her and the hospital seems much safer. The moment passes and suddenly she looks out the window at the same night and smiles because she loves it so much.
Logan and Piotr try to learn who attacked Storm but she has no memory of the actual attack so it's no help. When Storm returns to Misty's home, the X-Men dote over her until Ororo tells them to get out and leave her alone. She sleeps but it's a restless sleep. She hears a voice beckoning her and she tries not to respond to it. Soon, that resistance is broken and Ororo wakes up, opens the windows wide and welcomes her visitor inside.
And that's how Storm spends her weekend.
Kitty Pryde shows up on Monday to find the X-Men in a foul mood. Storm has gotten worse. MUCH worse. They want to bring her to the hospital for another check up but Monroe will have none of it. Kitty phases into Storm's room to talk some sense into her friend but doesn't get very far into convincing Ororo to do much of anything.
What she finds inside is a ghost of her friend. Storm has always had white hair but now it looks so much more fitting as the young mutant looks so much older. The sunlight hurts her eyes. When Storm catches a glimpse at Kitty's Star of David necklace, she recoils. Ororo also has a fancy scarf covering her neck wound with an embroidered "D" on it that the mutant just can't explain. When Kitty pushes things too far, Storm pushes her away with super-human strength that doesn't fit just how weak the X-Man looks. Kitty leaves the room with tears in her eyes but with a very good idea of what's going on. On her way out, she asks Logan where Storm was found after her attack and goes to check on some minor little details.
We'll get the inside scoop right now. That night, Storm again opens the window to admit her nocturnal visitor. It's Dracula himself. He asks her if she wants to become a vampire and rule with him forever and she totally does.
That Dracula... he's a charmer.
Avengers Prime #3
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Alan Davis
In this story:
• Thor fights Hela and her minions.
• Tony escapes from Fafnir buck-naked.
• Steve Rogers saves Stark's life and scares off the rest of the trolls.
• Tony suits up and the two ride to where the lightning is coming from.
• Hela strikes Thor down.
• Iron Man and Steve Rogers find Thor's fallen body and carry him off to Steve's love nest.
• When Thor wakes up, he explains that the Enchantress saved his life. He also thinks they may be in Hel.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
Thor is in Vanaheim. Or at least he THINKS this is Vanaheim. The god of thunder is also facing off against Hela and an army of dead warriors. It seems everyone blames Thor for whatever's happening here but no-one has the time to actually explain it to him or us. All we know is Thor fights back against almost certain peril. There's lightning.
That lightning is seen a couple miles away where Tony Stark, the Invincible Iron Man, is about to be sacrificed by Fafnir and his troll followers. Tony uses the lightning to his advantage by accurately identifying it as the lightning of Thor who will surely be on his way to smite all who would hurt his good friend, Tony Stark. The big dragon doesn't think this ploy will work but Fafnir underestimates the fear Thor instills in his followers. The trolls attack him while one frees Stark.
Fafnir burns Tony's rescuer to a crisp but not before the former billionaire industrialist makes a getaway on a nearby horse. Stark doesn't have time to make himself presentable so this is naked man riding a horse time at its finest.
Fafnir is in hot pursuit and when I say "hot" I mean HOT. There's lots of flames spurting out of the dragon's maw. Fafnir is nearly on top of Tony when Steve Rogers makes the scene. America's new Top Cop is dressed to the nines in his best knight armor and is even back to slinging a shield when it works. You'd think Fafnir wouldn't be troubled by an angry little mortal with a sword and shield but Rogers takes down the dragon with one stab. When the magical smoke clears, Fafnir is in human form and much less menacing.
Steve asks Tony what's going on and gets a number of brilliant quips by the naked man. Eventually, the trolls rally around their fallen leader but a good snarl and dual sword action on the part of Steve Rogers scares them away. The former Captain America tells Stark to get dressed. It's time to rescue a god.
As Iron Man suits up, the two Avengers actually have a relatively decent conversation. Since this series started with them being at each other's throats, it's nice to see them acting civil. Tony even thanks Steve a second time for the save against the dragon and everything. When the armor is on, Tony mentions that he's out of juice so he's just got the added protection of the armor but none of his abilities. That means they'll have to get on Steve's horse and ride together. It's awesome.
Up in Vanaheim, Thor is still fighting it out with Hela and isn't actually winning. I mean, it's not even a close battle. The god of thunder is getting tossed around like an amateur. In the background, the Enchantress watches with a frightened look on her face.
Still a ways away, Tony and Steve see another flash hit the sky and it doesn't look like it's Thor's power signature. The quicken their pace but by the time they reach the combat zone, it's all over. Thor has fallen but at least it appears as though he's alive. The Asgardian's hammer isn't in the area and they don't dare risk sticking around waiting for another attack. The two Avengers load their friend onto the horse and leave Vanaheim. If Mjolnir is still around, at least no-one else will be able to lift it.
In all this confusion, you may wonder where they'll take Thor. That is, you'll wonder unless you remember that Steve made friends with a local last issue: the dark elf, Mageth. Thor has healed on the way and wakes up soon after they arrive at this safe haven. In the background, Tony continues to work on his suit.
In the foreground, revelations are going down. When Mageth tells Thor that they are in Jotunheim, the Asgardian nearly bites her head off for the absurdity of it. The truth is that the nine realms are a mess, all overlapping each other in crazy ways... if this IS the nine realms. When Thor calms down, he tells them that Hela was able to take Mjolnir which should be impossible. Mageth acts surprised when she learns that Thor was attacked by both the Enchantress and Hela so maybe Hela's rule of the land isn't absolute or maybe the dark elf is incredulous that Thor had faced Hela.
What Thor tells them is that at the moment Hela was about to strike him down, the Enchantress stepped in and saved his life. His history with Amora is incredibly complicated but it was a major switch over her trying to kill him in the last issue. The last revelation is yet to come.
Thor suspects that they aren't in the Nine Realms at all. The god of thunder believes they are in Hel, the domain of Hela and the land of the dead.
Captain America #610
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Penciler: Butch Guice
In this story:
• Steve sends President Obama to voice mail so that he can focus on finding his World War II partner.
• James is on an island in the English Channel. The same island where he supposedly died at the tail end of the last great war.
• When he returns to the fortress of Zemo, Helmut is a bit disappointed that Barnes is going out this easily.
• After fighting Zemo's goons, the battle gets all up and personal with Zemo.
• Zemo is at Bucky's mercy and... it turns out James Barnes has mercy to give.
• It doesn't save the new Captain America. Zemo shocks James and his minions carry Barnes to....
• Another rocket! Cap is tied to the thing and told that his cybernetic arm will reactivate when the rocket is airborn. It'll give James JUST enough time to free himself before the rocket explodes. Or Barnes can give up right now and save himself some future trouble.
• Of course, James saves himself and comes back for his costume and shield.
• Steve and company arrive and take Captain America back to the States where more trouble awaits.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
James Buchanan Barnes has already faced Zemo in battle at Camp Lehigh and left. Steve Rogers knows that and knows that racing off to the former military camp would be a waste of time and there's none of that to go around at the moment. Rogers tries to predict WHERE Baron Zemo would take his friend and former partner. If that means not taking a call from the President of the United States, well, that's just how much Steve cares about this particular case. It also probably shows just how far President Obama's popularity is slipping when the man who pardoned Captain America and made him America's new Top Cop can't even get the guy to answer his phone calls.
Then, just like that, Steve knows where Zemo took Bucky.
It should be pretty obvious. It's where the Winter Soldier was born. Baron Henrich Zemo's English Channel base, the island where Bucky Barnes was supposedly killed. Zemo's men drop James into onto the island, sans shield and costume, leaving Barnes only a combat knife and a taunt to recover his effects on the base. When James arrives at the compound, Helmut is there to great the latest Captain America. Zemo expected Barnes to show up but is a little disenchanted at how easy James is to manipulate.
Still, the dude's got Bucky's shield and uniform. Those are things he'll want back. Now.
The battle with Zemo's underlings is just a primer for the main event and it's all meticulously planned out so there should be little doubt how it'll turn. Zemo is just too good at planning and you can thank Fabian Nicieza for that. Barnes makes short work of the troops and then faces off against the grand manipulator. All this time, Zemo is telling Bucky how he thinks he DESERVES to be Captain America and how being Cap isn't a get out of jail free card for past crimes committed as the Winter Soldier.
Zemo even gets to give the old shield a toss and seems to enjoy the results.
After a chase around the fortress and a brief discussion on James' feelings about wearing the red, white, and blue, the one-on-one face-off begins in earnest. This time, things go more in James' favor. Zemo loses his mask and James nearly uses the shield to cut off Helmut's head. In the end, Bucky doesn't do it which is probably what Zemo had planned to happen. Because the plans haven't ended just yet.
Helmut gets back up and again tells James that he's responsible for what he did as the Winter Soldier. Even though Barnes denies it, there's a part of him, possibly a good part of him, that doesn't believe it.
Oh, and letting your opponent get back to his feet? Not gonna work in your favor. Helmut gives James a shock and Captain America is out like a light. Zemo puts his mask back on while his men pick up the fallen Cap for the next part of the intricately woven plan.
When James wakes up, he's strapped to another rocket. Same island, same death, huh? Zemo is there to give Bucky a 'what if' scenario. If the original rocket had just killed Bucky Barnes, then all the deaths caused by the Winter Soldier would never have happened unless the Soviets had sent another killer to do them. You know, like they would have done. Anyway, Zemo tells Barnes that his robot hand will come back to life when the rocket is in the air and should give James just enough time to free himself before the thing detonates.
Alternatively, Captain America could just let the rocket kill him and then all his troubles would be over. No real choice.
Zemo tells Bucky that when he returns, everything he does as Captain America will need to be worked for. Nothing will be handed to him.
The rocket takes to the skies and James realizes that he's got the exact same amount of time as he did when the first rocket exploded over the English Channel. Visions of what he did as the Winter Soldier enter his consciousness as he tries to free himself from the rocket. He realizes that even though he wasn't in control when the Winter Soldier did all those terrible things, he still was the guy doing them and he blames himself for a part of it. He DOESN'T deserve to be Captain America. But will he fight to earn it?
Well, of course. James frees himself in the proverbial nick and swims back to the island where he finds his costume and sheild waiting for him. Zemo and his entourage are gone, leaving James to wait until Steve arrives with the rest of the cast.
Black Widow gives her boyfriend a kiss before telling him how stupid it was to take on Zemo all alone. Steve and James reminisce over how terrible this particular place is in both their lives and then everyone gets on the Quinjet for a ride home.
What awaits James Barnes stateside isn't going to be pretty. All his secrets are out for everyone to know and if the public loves one thing, it's the fall of it's heroes. We'll see how that plays out next issue. Or you WILL if you go pick it up. This is the last Heroic Age banner for this title and that means I get to go back to just reading it until the next event!
Writer: Sean McKeever
Artist: Filipe Andrade
In this story:
• Steve and Rikki save the day and meet with the police to get a bunch of militant bigots arrested.
• Rikki pulls Steve to the side and confronts him on how quickly he made the scene. She then turns down his offer to set her up with a home in this world.
• Araña and Nomad dance around the top of buildings while discussing how Rikki froze in her last fight.
• Steve frets that he might have been a bit too overprotective.
• Steve and Rikki go bowling.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
Last issue, we ended with Rikki Barnes, Nomad, freezing up when she saw Steve Rogers was in danger. We start out this story by skipping right past the cliffhanger and hitting the aftermath. Commander Rogers was in no life threatening danger and Nomad's ice cold state didn't prevent the former Captain America from mopping up and having this particular hate group taken into custody.
This story begins as the police are taking these militant bigots to jail for their various crimes. Rogers is talking to the police about the incident while Nomad recovers from passing out. Yeah. It looks like she passed out.
Rikki's not out of it for long before she pulls Steve aside for a little chat. She guesses that Steve has been following her around but Rogers claims that he researched the same case when he learned she was on it and came up with the same information on his own. As we'll learn later, this is sort of true but he also WAS following her. Regardless of her believing him or not, Rikki Barnes decides to decline his offer to set her up with a family and stop living a life on the streets.
And then Rikki runs away before she cries in front of her idol.
Later on, Steve Rogers is in another training session with Black Widow when he starts berating himself for maybe overstepping things with Rikki. Rogers was following her around because he was worried she would get hurt. I mean, she's a teenaged girl with no super-powers fighting large groups of thugs. There may be reason to worry. Natasha assures Steve that she gave Nomad the suit because she knew the girl could handle this kind of thing. This was someone Steve trusted to be his new Bucky in the Heroes Reborn Universe. Rikki's gotta have something.
You know who else is upset about all this? Oh yeah, it's Rikki. The female Barnes leaps tall buildings with her friend Araña. Anya wonders what made Rikki freeze up because it's unlike her. Nomad explains that it scared her into believing she was going to lose Steve for a third time. She lost the Captain America from her universe which may or may not have been the Marvel U Steve Rogers. She came to the 616 and then Captain America was killed on live television. Now, Steve is back but the thought of losing him again is terrifying. It's that thought that made her take off. If she doesn't have any contact with Rogers, she won't miss him if he dies again, right?
Sure. That makes sense. Araña sympathizes with her friend but is happy that she doesn't personally have to deal with such a messed up psychological issue. She does have news on the militant hate group, though. Remember the father and son team? When they were arrested, they turned on each other, offering up evidence that incriminated the other. There's probably a lesson there about fathers and sons/daughters that Rikki takes to heart.
The next we see Rikki and Steve, they're meeting for a night of fun and bowling. Rogers tries to talk it out but Rikki isn't having any of it. Instead of opening up wounds, they should just move the heck on and enjoy the night. And that's exactly what they do.
Bowling brings us all closer together.
Heroic Age: One Month To Live #5
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Jamie McKelvie
In this story:
• Dennis Sykes tells his family about his adventure with the Fantastic Four before throwing up his lunch. Abbey and Kelly leave the room and talk about how strong they have to be.
• Dennis takes Kelly for a walk and tries to teach her some life lessons.
• Abbey and her husband share a moment.
• Hammerhead attacks the neighborhood. Kelly stands up to him.
• Dennis does the super-hero thing one last time.
• The Avengers play clean-up and then invite Flux to join one of their many squads.
• The neighbors chear as Abbey and Kelly lead their hero back to the house.
• Dennis dies.
• A month later, Abbey and Kelly are still healing but are moving forward with their lives. Kelly is handling things very well.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
We've finally come to the end of this five issue mini-series and it's been a rough journey. Dennis Sykes was given a case of super-cancer as well as the ability to manipulate matter and energy. The super-cancer was going to kill him in a month or so but using his powers has shortened that time considerably. This is the end of Dennis's life.
And things have gone downhill since his trip to the Savage Land with the family. Dennis was already very weak for that trip and was only moving around courtesy of stimulants and a whole lot of drugs. Now that his adventures are over, Sykes is spending a lot more time in bed and talking to his family. This scene actually begins with a trip to his past to show how he wanted to be an astronaut and how his dreams eventually led to a life less extraordinary. Then, the cancer and the saving the galaxy.
Dennis recounts his adventure with the Fantastic Four to Kelly and Abbey. It seems after last issue's Savage Land trip, Kelly is actually getting ALONG with her uncle/adopted father. It's a good thing that happened before her died because it's important to both of them. Kelly asks if Dennis could just use his power to pull the cancer out like he did with Ego but he can't. As Dennis loses his lunch, Abbey and Kelly leave the room to give him some privacy. Kelly remarks that Dennis isn't doing well. No food seems to stay in him long. He's like a walking skeleton right now.
Abbey tells her niece/adopted daughter that they need to stay strong for Dennis and then sends her off to do some homework. Abbey goes in to check on her husband and finds him standing and working on his bucket list. He's shredding it because he just doesn't have time to take care of it all. Instead, he's made a new list and it's all about his daughter/niece.
Dennis takes Kelly for a walk around their neighborhood, telling her all about how his dad moved here after the war and how the neighborhood was pretty awesome. This was a community that cared about each other and about the value of family (maybe even family values but that's harder to actually define so your mileage may vary). It's important to know who's living around you so that you can actually BE a community.
That's not the most important lesson Dennis is going to teach his kid today. The best lesson he learned from his dad was the value in doing your job to an exceptional level not because you're hoping for a promotion but for the fulfillment of a job well done. It's a lesson that took a while to sink in when Dennis learned it. He spent so long trying to please others at his job but being mostly unsatisfied with the experience. His dad had kind of a crap job but it was something his pop really enjoyed doing and he did it for himself and not for others. It made the job better and that made life better. Dennis is hoping that Kelly learns this lesson faster than he did.
The rest of the day is pretty uneventful and we skip ahead to the next morning. Abbey is making Dennis some bacon and eggs which aren't the kind of food her husband should be eating in his condition but we're nearing the end and it's a delicious way to go. Dennis' wife is trying to be strong but, c'mon. This is something that would try the best of us and this is a couple that genuinely loves each other. She's in tears and Dennis wouldn't have it any other way. He doesn't want his family to hide their emotions from him. He knows this is hard because he's the one going through it. All he really wants is for them all to be able to get through it and build a good life for themselves when he's gone. Dennis doesn't want his death to ruin them.
The big problem is still Kelly. Sure, she's handling things fine after the Savage Land but she's already lost two parents and who knows what a third will do? Abbey has to be there for the kid and make sure Kelly has someone in her life that she knows loves her. Dennis knows that this isn't fair but he's already acknowledged that "fair" doesn't really exist. He also knows his wife. Abbey is pretty frickin' amazing and he knows she'll do just fine. Abbey appreciates the compliment but comments back that "the hero position is FILLED."
Even though there is delicious bacon ready for him, it doesnt' look like Dennis is going to eat any of it. He breaks into a coughing fit and Abbey leads him to bed. While he naps, Abbey checks in on Kelly who is holding the cat frame Dennis fixed with his powers in the first issue. Kelly learns how awesome she is from Abbey and then starts talking about how Dennis is acting. It's like he knows these are his final moments. Which is pretty true, sadly.
This touching moment between Abbey and Kelly is interrupted by the villain of the piece. It's Hammerhead. Mr. Negative has sent in his muscle to show this community how much they want to move out and make room for more druggies and gangsters. The reflection to how Dennis started down this path is shown with Hammerhead. He's just doing his job and if he refused, Negative would just send someone else. It's exactly like Dennis's work with the bank except, y'know, Dennis isn't a villain.
Abbey tells Kelly to get in the basement while she calls the cops but if Kelly were the type of kid to listen to her parents, she's definitely not gonna do it today. She's recently learned the value of community and she decides it's time to teach that lesson to Hammerhead. Kelly walks out on the street to confront the super-mobster. Hammerhead is undeterred in his being the guy trying to scare people out of their houses. Kelly tells the thug that they aren't leaving and even goes into details on how her dad (yeah, she calls Dennis her dad) is sick and stuff. It looks like the big guy is about to take his aggression out on Kelly when Flux hits the streets.
Dennis doesn't look his best but as far as last hurrahs go, this is a good way to end things. Hammerhead and Dennis talk it out for a moment or two which is when the twisted reflections between the two get spoonfed to us. Hammerhead isn't halted for long and he's all about making personal examples about why everyone should move elsewhere. The thug lifts up a car and tosses it at Abbey and Kelly who are both out in the front yard.
Dennis uses his powers one last time to catch the car with a hand made up of front lawn. Hammerhead is a ticked that his message isn't getting through and is just about ready to kick the crap out of the dying man when a bolt of lightning stops him cold.
The Avengers have arrived and suddenly Hammerheads odds have greatly decreased. The team compliments Dennis on a job well done. Iron Man offers him exclusive membership to the mighty Avengers. Dennis Sykes has a few reservations, but Thor convinces him that it's a good idea.
The Avengers take off leaving the rest of the neighborhood to cheer their hometown hero. It's a good day.
The Fire Department arrives to take care of damages while Abbey and Kelly help their hero back to the house. Dennis has some stern words for his daughter after she so recklessly endangered herself. Still, the moment is over and everyone's safe.
Dennis makes it inside and then collapses. His fight is nearly over and he's cool with it. He got super-powers and super-cancer on the same day and it made him fill up the rest of his time with adventure and family. It wasn't a bad life and he had two wonderful people to share it with. Abbey kisses him one last time and Dennis passes away at peace.
Kelly and Abbey cry and hold each other as the "camera" focuses on the cat frame. Inside it is a picture of Dennis, Abbey, and Kelly.
One month later doesn't seem like a lot of time to get over the loss of a loved one and I'm sure both Kelly and Abbey have their moments where they are in tears because Dennis is gone but they've also got a solid foundation together and were able to say good bye and make their peace. Kelly is annoyed because she thinks Abbey hasn't prepared her lunch for the day but that's because she's forgotten her own request regarding her meal. The two make plans for later on that night to eat some hamburgers and Kelly is off to school. The note on the lunch is a heart with "proud of you" written inside.
Kelly probably goes to school but we catch up to her later as she's biking to her after school program. She now volunteers at the Children's Hospital. Outside the doors is the sculpture garden that Dennis build. There's a new addition. It's a giant statue of Dennis in his super hero gear. The inscription on the plaque reads:
Given one month to live.
Used every second."
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artists: Ramon Rosanas, Jeff Parker, Gabriel Hardman
In this story:
• Jimmy, Ken, and Bob explain themselves to the people of this other universe.
• Then they're pulled back into the space inbetween universes and have a talk with 3-D Man. Namora and Venus show up soon after they get there.
• The team continues to the middle universe known as Echo World.
• Each member of the Agents of Atlas tell us how they're part of two worlds and it's all therapeutic.
• When they reach Echo World, they are immediately attacked but learn that their own powers are increased to the max and that most of the Echo Worlders' weapons are harmless.
• M-11 shows up before the Echo Worlders can use a doomsday weapon on them.
• A plan is devised and implemented to make Echo World stop seeing visions from the other two dimensions.
• Once it's done, the Agents head home after Jimmy talks with Plan Chu in the afterlife (or something).
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
It's another ending as the Agents of Atlas say good-bye one more time.
When last we saw Jimmy Woo, Ken Hale, and Bob Grayson, they had ended up in the bodies of their counterparts in another dimension. Here's how that actually went down:
The earth is threatened by Echo World, a dimension in-between the Marvel Universe and another dimension (the one where Jimmy, Ken, and Bob have foun
Written or Contributed by: SuperginraiX