Today, we check out Fear Itself #5, Fear Itself: Fellowship of Fear #1, Fear Itself: Uncanny X-Force #2, The New Avengers #15, Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #522, Alpha Flight #3, New Mutants #29, Ghost Rider #2, and Blast to the Past for Avengers #83. Enjoy and spread the word!
Hey, folks. We're winding this Fear Itself thing into the last gear. Three issues to go!
Looking to read up on everything from Secret Invasion to Heroic Age and beyond? Check no further than this link right HERE.
Let's get the party started.
Fear Itself #5
Writer: Matt Fraction
Penciler: Stuart Immonen
In this story:
• Thor versus Angrir/Thing and Nul/Hulk! Skadi/Sin versus Captain America!
• Iron Man petitions Odin for the use of his forge. He's also sauced.
• Thor strikes Angrir down with a killing blow.
• The Serpent arrives in New York City and fights off a group of Avengers. As an encore, he shatters Captain America's unbreakable shield.
• Spider-Man asks Captain America if he can be excused from the fight on the basis that they aren't going to win.
• Franklin Richards returns Ben Grimm to normal and makes sure that the Thing will live.
• Thor ejects Nul from New York and then drops to the ground.
• Cap sends Spider-Man away and admits to the other Avengers that they're all going to lose.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
We start this issue off right where the last one ended: Thor fighting Nul, Breaker of Worlds, and Angrir, Breaker of Souls. Respectively, these two are the Hulk (Green version) and the Thing. Usually. You know. When they aren't excessively evil and wielding ancient Norse super hammers. This is going to be just as hard of a fight as you can imagine. On a really good day, Thor would have problems just holding his own against the Hulk. Right now is not a good day. It's about the worst you can imagine.
Yes, worse than Avengers: Disassembled. ;)
While the thunder god struggles just to keep going, Skadi is in another part of New York City, monologuing her heart out. She tells the Avengers in the area that Thor is going to lose. The thunder that everyone is hearing isn't Thor's lightning. It's the Asgardian Avenger losing.
And now, it's time for Skadi to kill another Captain America. Steve Rogers, America's Top Cop, is back in most of the suit (sans the traditional mask-- he's wearing a stylish green helmet with a visor... it's not actually stylish) and ready to get some payback on the daughter of the Red Skull.
Let's skip over to just outside Broxton, Oklahoma where a drunken Tony Stark has just summoned the All-Father of Asgar in the ruins of earthly Asgard. Odin's used to people begging him for favors when they have no hope left. Iron Man isn't a beggar... unless you count that time he begged to Doctor Octopus at the start of Fear Itself... um... OK, Iron Man is TOTALLY a beggar but he's not going to do it in front of Thor's dad. No, sir.
Instead, he's going to shout at Odin, throw an empty bottle through Odin's spectral form, and generally be pissy about having to do any of this in the first place. He's drunk. He can probably get away with it. When you think about it, this is all Asgardian business, anyway. The Serpent is Odin's brother and is here because of Odin's failure. This all rests on the All-Father's shoulders. While Tony Stark fully expects to lose this battle, he'd like to go down fighting as hard as possible. To do that, they'll need some super-weapons of their own.
And for THAT, Tony wants a suitable forge. Maybe one filled with Uru metal available.
You can follow that plot right into Invincible Iron Man #506, already on the newstands. I covered it HERE.
And now back to fighting gods on pay-per-view.
While Thor's fight with Nul and Angrir is proving difficult, he's a warrior god and this is his wheelhouse. The first to fall is the Breaker of Souls. Thor calls his hammer back to him. It smashes right through the former Thing in its path to the thunder god. That is one down with as much violence as possible.
Thor turns to Nul, saying, "And HIM I liked. But YOU? You were always a giant PAIN IN THE ASS."
Thor bats the former Hulk around Manhattan with a ferociousness. With the battle already passing away from Angrir, Franklin and Valeria Richards run up to the fallen Worthy.
I tell ya. Sue and Reed need better baby sitters. It's just a good thing that the dying Angrir seems to have reverted back to his Ben Grimm personality. That means there's a lot of regret for recent actions running around in the Thing's head. Grimm is ready to die.
Skadi and Captain America face off on another section of the battlefield. By this, I mean Skadi is throwing around her hammer and Cap is just holding up his shield to protect himself from the attacks. He doesn't have much that'll hit back against the super-charged Sin. After being thrown against a car, Steve Rogers looks up to see things get much, much worse.
The Serpent has teleported his Arctic Fortress (the Thule Fort from the first issue) over the city of New York. With a booming voice, the Serpent announces his own arrival and demands that the city worship him for their lives. After that, he drops off his floating Fortress to join his "daughter" on the streets below.
Before the Serpent and Skadi can double team Captain America, some other Avengers rush them. Role call: The Protector, Jessica Jones-Cage, Spider-Woman, Luke Cage, Mockingbird, Spider-Man, Ms. Marvel, and Hawkeye. For some reason, this rally amazes Steve Rogers.
But it's a short moment of hope. With a blinding blast of green energy, the Serpent knocks everyone blocks away. So destructive is this attack that Captain America loses his helmet.
Rogers ends up being the only one on the battlefield again and decides to try his luck with a shield toss. The Serpent catchs the disc and shatters it into pieces, astonishing anyone who hasn't seen the teaser image released before this event, showing a broken shield. Cap is one of those who isn't up-to-date on his Marvel teasers and he's probably more shocked than anyone.
Steve leafs through his Marvel Universe book and tells the Serpent that what just happened is impossible. Serpy responds that nothing he wants to do is impossible. That is what they're facing. To put an exclamation point on that response, the Serpent drops his hammer, unleashing a wave of purple light shockwave.
When Captain America wakes up, the Serpent and Skadi are gone. Spider-Man is there to tell the Top Cop how the fight is going. In a nutshell: it's going about as bad as possible.
While Peter Parker doesn't want to ask, he stutters out a request to find his family to be with them at the end. Rogers tries to convince Spidey to stay on the front lines but the Web-Slinger has basically given up. This one has "The End" written all over it and he wants to find his Aunt before dying.
You know who else has given up? Ben Grimm. He's ready for it to be over. Franklin Richards is NOT. You can't blame the kid. He just lost his Uncle, Johnny Storm, and he can't be looking to lose another family member. So he does what he's promised never to do.
Franklin Richards uses his reality warping powers. Not only do these heal the Thing, they eradicate Angrir's influence. Ben is himself again but still pretty weak. His first thought is how upset Sue and Reed will be at all of them.
Meanwhile, Reed vaguely remembers he has a son.
It looks like Thor's lightning fast attack on Nul has slowed down. That's because the Asgardian has to say something dramatic.
"I CANNOT BEAT YOU, you know."
Oh. Well, I'm certain he still says that in a dramatic way.
As the former Hulk charges in, he tells Thor that he DID, in fact, know. When Nul gets in close enough, the thunder god hits the Worthy with a lightning charged power hammer uppercut. This causes another Hulk to be sent soaring out of New York City.
And into orbit.
Nul starts on fire during re-entry and curses in his rune language for the rest of the trip down. In New York, Thor calls this fight a draw before collapsing.
Away from there, Spider-Man is leaving the battle. Hawkeye and the other Avengers run up to Captain America to find out what the Web-Slinger is up to. Steve tells them that he relieved Spidey and sent him to find friends and loved ones. Clint can't believe this. This is the fight of their lives and Rogers has sent AWAY one of their fighters?
Captain America tells Hawkeye to get a good look at the city. They can't win this fight.
About this time, you suddenly realize the impact of Fear Itself. CAPTAIN AMERICA and SPIDER-MAN have admitted that they're going to lose this one. These are pretty much that last two heroes that would ever give up and they both do. Right here. Now, part of that is probably due to the Warped Prism of Fear running rampant around the world but it's still a dark moment in this event.
Fear Itself: Fellowship of Fear #1
Writers: Jeff Christiansen, Mike O'Sullivan, Stuart Vandal, Rob London, Madison Carter, Markus Raymond, Kevin Garcia, Ronald Byrd, Patrick Ryall
In this story:
• D'spayre, a Fear Lord, gives us the run down on Fear Itself and tells us how the Marvel Universe got to this point.
• Most of the rest is Universe entries on the various Worthy members, Fear-building storylines, and Marvel characters who get their rocks off the Fear juice.
• And that's about it. Just your basic Universe/Saga book.
• Move along, people!
• I'm serious!
You know the drill. This is one of those Universe style books. To mix things up, Fellowship of Fear also has a Saga-style story going through it to show how Fear has affected the population of the Marvel Universe.
Our narrator of the Saga-style story is D'spayre, one of Marvel's many fear-related beings, starts off his story with the Onslaught event... which was probably a low point for the Marvel Universe in more ways than one. OK, it actually starts when the heroes return and hope blazes brightest. Missed opportunity, D'spayre!
Our Fear Monster relates that the internet and television has helped to spread Fear to an even greater number of people and the Fear-related creatures could feed in mass quantities when Fear started spreading again. He talks about how Magneto being awarded Genosha and Maximum Security (when galactic leaders decided to use Earth as their prison planet) started the rise of Fear once again.
This was continued with the Kang War (Kang's biggest push to conquer the present day world), Eve of Destruction (Magneto's attempt to mobilize Genosha to conquer the rest of the world), and when the monster Morrison Sentinels eradicated the Genoshan population. Really, Magneto-Xorn trying to destroy New York City and Avengers: Disassembled (crazy Scarlet Witch storyline) was just overkill. The Fear beings were well-fed.
And the feast continued! The first big breakout of the Raft, the Maximum Maximum Security Prison located conveniently outside of NYC. House of M. The Decimation of the Mutant Population. The explosion in Stamford that led right into the Super-Human Civil War. Steve Rogers' death. World War Hulk. Messiah Complex (especially the killing occurring in Hope's birth town). The Skrull Invasion. The Mutant Population attacking the corrupt government supported Dark Avengers and Dark X-Men. Utopia. The Siege and destruction of Asgard. Second Coming (Nimrod Sentinels from the future attacking the X-Men and San Francisco). Curse of the Mutants (Vampires attacking the X-Men and San Francisco).
Imagine if this stuff was happening in the real world. Now, imagine is was going on ALL THE TIME. I think you can now understand the Fear since we're pretty close to going over the edge ourselves. This all easily leads right into Sin, the daughter of the Red Skull, finding the hammer of Skadi and taking on that persona. That brings us to the freeing of the ancient Asgard Fear God known only as the Serpent. Welcome to Fear Itself.
The comic starts in with some of the Universe entries, starting with Sin and then introducing newcomers to the rest of the Worthy.
After going through recent events of Fear Itself, D'spayre introduces the rest of the Fellowship of Fear and events that might have put Fear over the edge. This is pretty much everything from the Chaos War to the Troids. While there are many Fear entities listed, D'spayre doesn't get his own entry. Poor guy. He gets a group entry with other Fear Lords (Dweller-in-Darkness, Kkallakku, Lurking Unknown, Nightmare, Nox, and Straw Man).
So that's the gist behind this $3.99 book. It's pretty nice if you want some backstory on what led up to Fear Itself, some of the main players, or what other Marvel characters have done the Fear thing in the past. You could also use the internet and save four bucks. Either way.
Fear Itself: Uncanny X-Force #2
Writer: Rob Williams
Artist: Simone Bianchi
In this issue:
• People kill themselves after Standish makes a live internet broadcast telling them to.
• He also kills an innocent kid with mild super-powers.
• Jonathan Standish makes a bunch of cyborgs to kill the rest of the people who didn't listen to his message.
• X-Force waits for Standish to make his move. From orbit.
• Cyborgs attack small towns across the heartland. X-Force moves in.
• Lots of killing. Lots of explosions.
• Jonathan Standish makes a super-bomb with various cyborg brains.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
See that guy flying across the sky? That's Warren Worthington III, the high-flying Angel. Some of the time, at least. At other times, he's known as Archangel. Wolverine tells Betsy Braddock (Psylocke) to pull Warren down so he can be his darker half for a while.
Whyzzat? Because last issue, a dude named Jonathan Standish thought that it would be a good thing to go live on the internet and tell everyone else to kill themselves to avoid the fate of Fear Itself. He ended his statement by killing a poor unknown super-hero. This is the aftermath of that incident.
First and most important: the kid in the video was Daniel Chilton of Madison, Wisconsin. Daniel could make holograms and had dreams of becoming an Avenger. Instead, he became part of some madman's message.
Less but still very important: morons are taking Standish's message seriously. Thousands have killed themselves and loved ones in the United States. Hundreds in the United Kingdon and France. The death toll is still pouring in. While it's a tiny number on the global scale, it still gives an idea of how freaked out people are by the Fear Itself event that they'd kill themselves before the Serpent gets a chance to "take their souls."
And we're not talking the "converted." Standish's offshoot of the Purifiers is still alive and well. All the better for them to spread their moronic, misguided, message.
Well, they still have their prisoner, Benedict Ryan, from last issue. Warren pays him a special visit as Archangel to get any other secrets this guy has about Jonathan Standish.
It appears all Ryan has to offer is that Standish is a surgeon.
A doctor? Yep. Jonathan Standish is a doctor who believes in practicing many unnecessary surgeries to get a person to the cyborg state of religious fervor. You see, Jon's upset that only a couple thousand people killed themselves. He thought more Feared out of their mind idiots would answer the call to death. Very well, then. Plan 2.
If people aren't going to kill themselves. This offshoot Purifier cult will do it for them. To SAVE them, of course.
This is something that Jonathan Standish wouldn't have done a day or two ago. One of his followers went against orders to kill a whole airport full of people last issue (this is what got him on X-Force's radar to begin with). This act was not sanctioned and but now Standish understands the necessity of it.
Meanwhile, in orbit, Uncanny X-Force waits.
I guess Benedict Ryan wasn't that useful with his info beyond "he's a surgeon." X-Force has decided to take an orbital approach so that they can see whatever Standish has planned next and take action immediately. Eva can drop down from orbit in seconds which is a lot faster than, say, a space shuttle, could descend.
While they sit up at the edge of the earth's atmosphere, they have a lot of time to talk. Psylocke wonders aloud if Standish is RIGHT. Are super-heroes more trouble than they're worth? Are the heroes actually going to doom the world? Archangel answers most truthfully. If the world wasn't full of super-villains, it wouldn't need super-heroes. Something like Fear Itself comes up, for example. What does the world do without Captain America and the Avengers? It probably burns.
Now, there's some roundabout here. "I created you but only after you created me" kind of thinking but there are still threats that have someone out there singing "I need a hero."
OK, enough with the philosophising. Jonathan Standish has made his move. He's attacking the small towns right in the middle of the US. Purifying Cyborgs just show up and start killing people. There's at least ten out there so far in just about as many states. Well, crap.
Eva starts her descent and the plan is made to split up and kill as many as possible as fast as possible. Psylocke wants one left alive so she can work her telepathic mojo on it but the rest can sleep with the fishies. Archangel flies out to take the cyborgs in Texas. Wolverine leaps out in Arkansas.
So, yeah, that was kind of awesome. Deadpool plans on repeating Logan's killing move in Oklahoma but he misses his target and kisses a whole lot of Main Street. The Merc with a Mouth takes a few shots from the Purifier Cyborg and then gets back on his feet and tries to take this monster alive. The bomb makes that impossible. It looks like these things are rigged to blow when they're attacked. Maybe they're supposed to explode even without interference.
Whatever the case, Psylocke and Fantomex face their own Purifier Cyborg in Missouri and it's also set to explode. This one actually hits the suicide bomb so maybe it DOES only go off when they're facing overwhelming odds. Betsy slices the bomb (or at least the timer) off of the cyborg. This one needs to live so that they can find Standish. Even without the timer, the cyborg is set to detonate if Braddock can't cut some wires in time (I am making a wild guess at what she's doing).
This cyborg still explodes and Betsy is WAY too close when it does.
Back in Jonathan Standish's lab, our resident evil madman has hooked up eight other cyborgs to one bomb. Ooh! That could... maybe do something. I guess.
We'll find out next issue.
The New Avengers #15
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mike Deodato
In this issue:
• Squirrel Girl sets up as issue narrator, telling us that she's the nanny for Luke and Jessica's kid.
• Before Fear Itself, Iron Fist spars with Wolverine and loses. Doreen Green faces Logan next and wins with some help from an army of squirrels.
• RIGHT before the Blitzkrieg hits New York, Squirrel Girl is leaving ESU campus, rescuing damsels in distress, and seeing a lot of Nazi Mechs filling up the skies.
• Green races to Avengers Mansion to watch over the Cage baby, facing Nazi Mechs the entire way.
• When she gets to the Mansion, the New Avengers take off to save the day. Squirrel Girl nearly collapses from all of her wounds.
• To make matters even more awesome, Avengers Mansion goes into Lockdown when it's attacked by Nazi Mechs.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
In New Avengers #7 (second volume), Luke and Jessica Cage hired a nanny to take care of their daughter. After a whole lot of hilarious interviews with people who have no right looking after kids... or breeding, they settled on Squirrel Girl. This was an awesome choice.
For the uninitiated, Squirrel Girl is Doreen Green. She's a mutant with the powers and proportionate strength of a squirrel. Doreen also has a tail and can talk to squirrels. Intended as a light-hearted comic book character, she was unfortunately unleashed into the world of grim n' gritty and sank into immediate obscurity. For years, Squirrel Girl was that joke character that somehow got introduced into the professional world of comics.
And then something magical happened. GLA. There was something about this concept that just made a hokey but extremely competent character like Squirrel Girl WORK. The fact that it was a light-hearted book about death didn't hurt. Squirrel Girl still wasn't lighting up the world but she had our attention.
The version of Squirrel Girl that appears in New Avengers is a slightly more... realistic... take on a mutant with squirrel powers. She still gives off this innocent look in some panels but others make her dead serious. A lot of that can be credited to Mike Deodato. If you're wondering, New Avengers is still using the Oral History of the Avengers as it's framing device. Unlike Avengers, New Avengers focuses on just one character doing the narrating. In this case, it's Squirrel Girl.
Much like last issue, we begin this one BEFORE Fear Itself. The team (or some of them, at least) are gathered in the back yard to watch Wolverine and Iron Fist fight each other. The rule is: no claws. Now if you think about it, the martial arts master here should win. I know, I know. Wolverine is like a ninja or something. Whatever. Iron Fist should win because the martial arts thing is pretty much all he's got. Yes, there's also the "iron fist" which he doesn't use in this fight but if he's going after someone like Wolverine who has a healing factor and claws and extreme old age going for him, maybe you let Danny Rand win a hand-to-hand fight?
Nah, Logan wins this one. He even claims that he wasn't using all of his skill. Danny says he was using even LESS skill but now we just feel bad for him.
The next round is Wolverine versus Squirrel Girl. Luke protests because Doreen isn't an Avenger and isn't getting paid to fight one of her exes (long story) but his wife thinks this is a fight that she needs to see. After all, Squirrel Girl is Luke and Jessica's nanny which means Doreen is taking care of the daughter to two Avengers. Chances are there's going to be a fight or twenty-two in her future and hopefully Squirrel Girl has the chops to not only survive the fight but save the kid.
So here's the fight. Doreen fights in a frantic, squirrel-like way. And she's winning, too. That surprises everyone but it just annoys Iron Fist. After all, now there are two people who could beat him up and one of them is the nanny. When Squirrel Girl turns around to give a Great Lakes Avengers cheer, Wolverine gets her in a half nelson and scolds her for not paying attention to the fight.
Doreen counters by calling in the troops. An army of squirrels and they're all looking at Wolverine with that look in their eye. The look that says "I wonder if he'd taste good?" Logan lets Squirrel Girl go and is impressed by her move. Everyone else is horrified by all the squirrels.
And that's a day in the life of the New Avengers. Let's skip ahead to what Doreen was doing right before Fear Itself hit New York City. In her time off from being a nanny, Squirrel Girl takes classes at Empire State University. Since she doesn't see any reason to have a secret identity (the giant tail probably precludes it, anyway), she goes to class AS Squirrel Girl. Complete with costume. Hell, it might be the only clothes she wears.
If anything will get you wierd looks, it's hitting a college campus dressed up as a squirrel. In skin tight clothing. The furries will love you, though.
On her way off campus, Doreen sees a lady getting beaten up by two thugs. Of course, she interferes and kicks the guys' asses in. When she's checking on the victim, the lady is more concerned with what's coming over the skyline.
Here comes Blitzkrieg USA with an army of Nazi Mechs.
The first thing that Squirrel Girl thinks about is Danielle Cage. Later on, that surprises her because she never expected it. She was just doing it for a job but now it's filled a need in her life. That's good because Danielle is probably going to need a nanny forever.
It's a long trek back to Avengers Mansion and she's fighting Nazi Mechs the entire, grueling way.
At the Mansion, Luke is being held up from all this Fear Itself action by his wife who's not ready yet. Women, right? No, but really, Jessica won't leave until the nanny gets here. While Luke complains about this, you've gotta wonder what he's thinking. THIS IS HIS KID. You don't just put the baby in a locked room so you can fight evil. You make sure that kid is taken care of. C'mon, Cage. Don't be Reed Richards.
Fortunately, the wait for Squirrel Girl to show up isn't too long.
Yeah, Doreen looks busted up. The New Avengers race out the door so fast that they don't even give her time to clean up a bit before handling the baby. I mean, who's blood is that? Do you want it on your child. Whatever. Squirrel Girl can hold the kid even though she's ready to fall down because of all the cuts, scrapes, bruises, and internal hemorrhaging (I'm guessing). At least they're safe in the Mansion, right?
HahahaAHAHAHAHAHAHAhahahahahaha. Ha. Heh. Oh, my stomach.
Avengers Mansion goes into Lockdown Mode when it's attacked by Nazi Mechs. They took down Avengers Tower and now they want to get the matching set.
Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #522
Writer: David Liss
Artist: Francesco Francavilla
In this story:
• T'challa and Foggy Nelson are in jail after falsifying immigration papers. Becky Blake posts their bail.
• American Panther's Secret Origin is told. So is the fact that he's acting under the influence of the Hate Monger.
• Black Panther creates a defense against the power of the Hate Monger and teams up with one of his employees to take down the crazy mob of haters.
• Hate Monger takes over the Hell's Kitchen police station against American Panther's protests. AP has to lick Hate Monger's boots for getting uppity.
• Sofija and Black Panther enact one of T'challa's plans.
• Black Panther is captured by American Panther. Sofija is revealed captured well before that.
• Before the two are executed, a bomb (placed by T'challa) takes out the power generator and the building goes dark. Everything's going according to plan.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
We ended last issue with T'challa and Foggy Nelson getting arrested for falsifying immigration papers. That's because... they falsified immigration papers. T'challa is in Hell's Kitchen under the cover name, Mr. Okonkwo, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. That's not his name and that's not where he's from. So, yeah. Papers were falsified and these two are in deep, deep trouble. Poor Foggy. He just got his license back to practice law.
While "Mr. Okonkwo" and Foggy sit in jail, the world is burning. Fear Itself is happening. It's out there. New York can't catch a break. While Nazi Mechs hammer the city, Hecate and Kyknos have taken a special interest in Brooklyn over in Herc. In Black Panther, the new/old Hate Monger puts down his flag in Hell's Kitchen.
So, jail. Never a good experience, I'd imagine. In this scenario, Nelson is harrassed by a group of skinhead neo-Nazis. They're going to beat the snot out of him but for the timely intervention of Mr. Okonkwo. T'challa doesn't even give these guys a warning because he's pretty sure it would be ignored and why waste the time?
Of course, these punks twist T'challa's actions. He's obviously at fault even though they were the instigators. Passive aggressive crap. The skinheads claim that they're here because the Hate Monger sent them here. Well then, maybe they can offer a little more information with a little persuasion.
This is interrupted by the guard who're here to get Mr. Okonkwo and Foggy Nelson out on bail. He sees the altercation behind the bars and makes sure there's nothing here he'll need to deal with. Clearly, the cop is on their side... or he just doesn't want to fill out paperwork. It really could go either way.
So who's bailing them out? Becky Blake. You might remember her from the Shadowland storyline. Becky was the law partner with Foggy after Matt Murdock went into the ninja business full time with the Hand. She's in a wheelchair so you have to admire her determination. After all, the streets are full of rioters.
Foggy sulks his way to the door. T'challa assures the lawyer that he will make this totally illegal act they've engaged in right. Nelson doubts that very much but appreciates the sentiment. He wheels Becky home. T'challa plans.
Now, we learn stuff about the American Panther. Last issue, we watched as the Hate Monger recruited a policeman to become his American-themed enforcer. Now, we learn that when the American Panther was a wee lad, his mother had an affair with a man from Sweden. That man killed American Panther's dad, thus cementing a lifelong hatred of foreigners. Making things worse? The Swedes took the criminal back to Sweden and the killer got away. It's implied that the American Panther went to Sweden as an adult and killed his father's killer but he could have just been a soldier or a special agent killing someone under orders. When he came home, he became a cop and went after those that looked like illegal immigrants.
He sounds like a guy who would follow Hate Monger blindly. In fact, HM's using his influence to control both his growing mob as well as the American Panther. While the former cop has told his new boss all about his backstory and believes everything the Hate Monger is telling him, there's a part of him that knows that what he's doing is wrong.
While we learn about the American Panther, the Hate Monger is giving a speech to his followers all about how awesome America is and how the foreigners are ruining it for everyone. Ordinary people are lapping this crazy talk right up.
Oh yeah. Fear Itself is still in full effect. Cell phones, internet, everything's down. While the Black Panther would usually be a member of the Avengers and on the front lines, now his focus is on one particular section of the world. To save Hell's Kitchen, T'challa has to have access to the internet so he builds a work around. I'm betting most servers are still down so he probably gets a lot of broken websites. That's ok. He's going to Reed Richard's public site. That's a server that might actually still be up.
What he's getting is a way to counter-act the Hate Monger's influence. It comes in earpiece form. Should be a simple build for someone who figured a way to access the internet.
Mr. Okonkwo's employee, Sofija, drops in on him. She knows he's the Black Panther and he knows she knows. They still don't talk about it much. Anyway, she wants to help.
T'challa goes on about how Daredevil asked him to take care of Hell's Kitchen and how the Black Panther thought this would be a relatively simple matter. After Doomwar, T'challa could use an easy win. Unfortunately, Hell's Kitchen proved to be a difficult area to keep on top of. The Black Panther figures that it's because he chose to tackle the problem like a Daredevil instead of as the Black Panther. That changes. Now.
Meanwhile, the forces of the Hate Monger continue to grow.
You see that other guy in that panel? That's Mr. Chambliss. He used to own the Devil's Diner (currently owned by Mr. Okonkwo). Chambliss missed a few mortgage payments and lost the place. T'challa picked it up. This is all the foreigner's fault. Of course.
With all these people, Hate Monger's going to need a headquarters. Chambliss suggests the local police precinct. The American Panther isn't all that hyped about that idea. The police have things to do and shouldn't be distracted by this power play. The Hate Monger sees his minion slipping his grasp and reasserts his authority on the American Panther. This is accomplished by making the former cop lick his boots clean.
That looks so sweet that Chambliss wants in on the action. Hate Monger allows the weasel to clean his boots with saliva as well, noting that Chambliss isn't even under his influence.
The police station falls quickly to the overpowering influence of the Hate Monger.
The Black Panther watches this go down. He has a plan. We aren't privy to the details but it has to do with getting the spirit of the original Hate Monger out of the body of Josh Glenn and everything has to go off just right for it to succeed. Sofija has been outfitted with one of those Anti-Hate Monger earpieces so she SHOULD be immune to the hate influence. She has her part to play and goes off to do it.
So does the Black Panther. T'challa breaks into the police building and places a bomb on the generator with a fifteen minute timer. After that's accomplished, the Black Panther incapacitates 87% of the policemen (many of which have divided emotions when it comes to helping the Hate Monger and helping their families... or maybe doing their jobs).
In a meeting with his lieutenants, Hate Monger makes plans to take over all of Manhattan, using this Fear Itself thing to their advantage. Like vultures, basically. When a policeman interrupts with news that the base is no longer secure, the Hate Monger has only seconds to act before the Black Panther uses a drop kick on the American Panther.
T'challa gets one more good move out on the American Panther before losing this fight. Don't worry, folks. THIS is part of the plan. Black Panther just took a dive and made it look JUST good enough that it was believable. Now, if only the rest of his plan turned out as well as his part.
Here comes Sofija, claiming that she got caught. Well, that doesn't look good. Hate Monger, while espousing the virtues of the American legal system, has declared martial law so that he can better work AROUND that system. As such, these two traitors to his cause are going to be executed. The man who was once Josh Glenn asks for last words.
Black Panther responds with "You have already LOST."
T'challa's timer reaches "0." The Police Headquarters goes dark. The Panther is on the prowl.
Alpha Flight #3
Writers: Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente
Penciler: Dale Eaglesham
In this issue:
• Alpha Flight escapes from the clutches of Department H.
• When they're contacted by General Edmundson, they think they've found an ally and walk right into the General's trap.
• So they drop a giant block of ice on a tank and run away.
• Hitting a bar, Alpha Flight sees all the horrible things people are saying about them on television.
• Aurora fights with herself. And loses.
• Guardian tells the team they're heading for the United States.
• Department H recruits Citadel, Purple Woman, and Ranark the Ravager for the new Alpha Strike.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
Let's go over the basics. As Fear Itself runs wild all over the world, the Canadian Government, under the direction of Prime Minister Gary Cody, declares martial law. This means they start taking in every undesirable element within society. Chief undesirables? The Canadian Super-team known as Alpha Flight. Each and every one of them is rounded up by Box Units except for James MacDonald Hudson. He's brought in by his wife. Heather Hudson, known in super-hero circles as Vindicator, has turned traitor.
The Canadian mutant, Jean-Paul Beaubier (Northstar), is not a member of the Alpha Flight team but his apartment was still visited by a Box Unit. Since Northstar was out playing hero at the time, the attack robot critically injured Jean-Paul's boyfriend, Kyle Roy. Last issue, Kyle was taken prisoner as a terrorist right in the middle of delicate surgery.
Also last issue, Northstar infiltrated Department H looking to free his sister. Instead, he freed Puck and Guardian. They were surrounded by Box Units as the issue came to a close.
We start this issue off as Walter Langkowski is waking up. He's been unconscious since being taken out by a Box Unit in between issue #1 and #2. Walter is a little bit drugged and doesn't remember that he was attacked by forces of his own government. That leaves Director Brown to fill in the blanks, liberally. He then informs the former pro-football player that he is suffering from brain damage due to being hit in the head so many times on the gridiron. This condition was exacerbated by his change into Sasquatch. The outlook is grim but there's hope!
Department H can make everything better. All he has to do is give in to Unity.
Another Alpha Flighter is about to make that commitment. Marrina. She tells her handlers that she can't wait to give in to this vague, beneficial, thing. The readings show that she isn't lying. The guards let her out so that she can be brought to Unity Chamber B. When the door is opened, alarms start popping up on every scanner. Yep. Marrina was totally lying.
Other things are also going Alpha Flight's way. Michael Two-Young-Men, Shaman, rescues Walter after he was freed by Guardian, Northstar, and Puck. While Shaman is doing that, Guardian is letting Snowbird out. Northstar and Puck have gone to rescue Marrina but find that she's already taken care of that little thing. She's even left her captors alive. She's being nice.
Marrina is overjoyed to see Puck alive. He was one of the Alpha Flight members that didn't return with the rest of the team during Chaos War. Puck was busy being in Hell, after all. When he finally came back to the land of the living, Puck was captured by Department H and held in secret.
Snowbird and Guardian have freed Aurora but it seems that Jeanne-Marie wasn't all that set on being rescued. In fact, she had pretty much given in to the Unity program last issue. She thinks it would solve a lot of problems. When Northstar tries to calm her down, he realizes that his sister is losing it once again.
No time to deal with that right now, the battle is back upon them as Department H guards start firing on Alpha Flight. Walter tries to Sasquatch up to fight these soldiers but finds something blocking his transformation. Everyone else gets their fight on just like usual.
Puck starts spouting his theory that Unity is all about aliens taking over Canada and using it as a springboard to unify all of North America. No one takes him seriously.
After some more fighting, the team escapes Department H. Vindicator asks for permission to pursue but Gary Cody has other plans in place.
A General Edmundson contacts Alpha Flight, claiming that he's been calling for them for hours. When Guardian tells the General that he and his team had been detained by Department H and that there was a curuption running through the government, Edmundson claims to have lost contact with Parliament. He's still a fountain of the latest happenings. If you remember Fear Itself: The Home Front #4, you'll remember that Nerkkod flooded the city of St. John's. Fear Itself has been busy while Alpha Flight has been locked up.
Thinking this guy might have Canada's best interests at heart, Guardian leads Alpha Flight right towards the General. This, of course, has trap written all over it. Puck tries to warn them but his crazy Hell stories make it so no one believes him. So, they walk into a trap. And tank fire!
Feeling betrayed, Alpha Flight starts attacking tanks. Guardian stops them and has Shaman end this conflict quickly, using an ice storm. We're talking large ice. The kind that can break a tank.
Weary from all this crazy, Alpha Flight enter a local bar to get their heads straight. It's been that kind of day, eh?
It's gonna get worse. The local news is listing the team as traitors, claiming that Guardian is in league with the Serpent. They use footage of the team's escape from Department H and Alpha Flight attacking General Edmundson's forces. Prime Minister Gary Cody even tries connecting Guardian's teleporting Nerkkod across the continent to a planned attack on St. John's. To show how heroes can turn against their people, the news shows the Thing in his Angrir form, attacking people in New York.
I mean, these guys are good. I know the truth and even I want to hunt down Alpha Flight right now. The news ends with the one Alpha Flighter that's still loyal to the government, Vindicator, gives a plea for Guardian to turn himself in and stop all this madness. Otherwise, she's going to take him down.
Northstar tries to give his boyfriend a call but is stopped by Guardian. Mac doesn't want to give away their position. Jean-Paul decides that he'll go down and check on Kyle personally but, again, Guardian says no. The team has to stick together even though Northstar isn't officially part of the team OR one of the wanted Alpha Flight members.
When the word "together" gets thrown around, someone notices that Aurora isn't around.
That's because Jeanne-Marie and Aurora are fighting with each other. This is extra wierd because they share the same body. Think "Smeagol/ Gollum" except with better speech patterns and a whole lot prettier. As for visual clues as to who's who during this fight, Jeanne-Marie has hazel eyes and Aurora has blue. Jeanne-Marie speaks French and Aurora, English.
The gist of this fight is that Jeanne-Marie wants to go back and let Unity happen and Aurora thinks that's a bloody stupid idea. Don't misunderstand. Even though Aurora is right, they're both crazy. Aurora brings... them (?) to LaVelle, Quebec to the orphanage where she was brought up and sexually abused by Laclos. The government has claimed that they'll hand Laclos over to her if she agrees to the Unity process.
At the end of this fight, it looks like Jeanne-Marie has the upper hand as she lifts a piece of glass into the air and shouts "UNITY!"
Regardless, Aurora returns to the others with a false story on what she's been up to since the battle in Department H. She's got a glass shard dug into her side where she stabbed herself (to get rid of the bad personality). To Northstar, she gives a smile and claims that she's better than she's been in a long while. Her eyes? Hazel. She even messes up and speaks a word or two of French.
It's time to make plans. Guardian tells them that they're heading into the United States to get help from Wolverine. Maybe through Logan, they'll get aid from the Avengers or the X-Men. Maybe... just maybe, Wolverine will join another team?
At Department H, Director Brown is recruiting members for the new team, Alpha Strike. He's not really particular on whether they want to be on the team or not. Remember Citadel and the Purple Woman from last issue? They're in the prison cells of Department H. The two tried to warn Alpha Flight about this whole Unity thing but they did it with a little terrorism. So... they weren't listened to. Now, they're forced into the Unity process.
It doesn't work as well when you're mind isn't calm. In fact, it could very easily result in brain damage. Brown doesn't give a damn.
In Western Alberta at the Rocky Mountain Foothills, Vindicator is teleporting in to get another ally. This one lives in cave and gives us a hint at what all of this is about when he claims that Vindicator "serve[s] the one of the EARTH. Older than I." I don't know what that means but mark it down as a clue. When Heather gives him an account of recent events, he agrees to join her new team.
This is Ranark the Ravager and his awakening will bring about the return of the Great Beasts of the North.
New Mutants #29
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artist: David Lafuente
In this issue:
• Hela is attacked by the most ancient of the dead.
• Danielle Moonstar is sent on a solo mission to Las Vegas to see what her deal with Hela might bring. A giant swarm of black birds tears her X-Jet apart.
• The New Mutants don't help fight Kuurth in any way.
• Illyana tells the team that Danielle has been taken to Hel.
• In Hel, Moonstar finds her Dark Valkyrie armor and Brightwind waiting for her.
• Cypher casts a spell to get to Hel and ends up in Hell instead. Oops.
Our story begins in Hel. Deeper than Hel. The place is located behind Hela's fortress and holds the most ancient dead. They've been here so long that they don't have much to say and don't really show up often. It's quiet here and more dead than anyplace else in Hel.
So it's a nice place for Hela to visit when she wants to refresh her batteries. After all the shenanigans she's had to deal with in Journey Into Mystery, she definitely needs to contemplate things.
This is where the attack begins. The Serpent's rebellion in Hel begins with creatures so old they don't know who they are anymore. All they know is that they don't feel any fealty to the queen of the dead because they died before death was even a thing. This ambush on Hela looks like it's already ringing in success.
Kuurth, Breaker of Stone, is attacking San Francisco after a cross-country trek across the United States that left many towns with a whole lot less buildings and a whole lot more road repair. While the epic battle between the former Juggernaut and the X-Men will unfold very slowly in recent issues of Uncanny X-Men, the New Mutants want in on this event action, too.
Since Danielle Moonstar became the Dark Valkyrie of Hela during Utopia, she's had an in on all these Norse related events (basically Siege and this one). Cyclops sends Danielle to Las Vegas to check on that Hela connection. She's flying solo because the rest of the mutants are needed in San Francisco. Since she's not powered, she's the least necessary in city defenses. I'm simplifying things but the best help she can be is exploring that Norse connection for all it's worth.
Cyclops tries to convince her of this all the way through her flight but Moonstar still has a lot of misgivings leaving her friends and allies to face Kuurth without her help.
Suddenly, her communication is cut off from Cyclops. Well, mostly cut off. She's still getting visual but the audio is full of "HEL! HELA! HELP! HELA! HEL!" talk. Cyclops is getting the same thing on his end. That's not something that Danielle will have time to resolve before the next bad thing happens. In the sky ahead of her, a giant blackness is forming. This is a giant murder of crows. Or ravens. Big black birds. Whatever. They're unnatural. When the Blackbird (the jet) flies into the birds, the ship is broken into bits and pieces.
You'd think that Cyclops would have, y'know, told Danielle's teammates where she was off to but the Asgardian connection seems to be a secret. Last time Danielle went to help Hela during Siege, she neglected to tell her friends what she was up to. That's why the New Mutants are debating why Moonstar left for Las Vegas and if it was an approved mission or not. Either way, they aren't helping on the mainland and need something to do. After working out the details (Cypher helps a lot), the team pays a visit to...
Illyana Rasputin! With straight hair like she's supposed to have! Magik is still a prisoner of the X-Men after using Legion to destroy the Elder Gods of Limbo and regaining some lost bits of her soul. She thinks it's for the best and hasn't tried to escape even though she doesn't regret her actions at all. This is the price of those actions and she's willingly paying it.
As such, she tells them that freeing her is a monumentally bad idea. What she CAN give them is answers. Danielle is in Hel.
One scene change later and so are we. Moonstar wakes up with a raven saying the same message from earlier. "HEL! HELA! HELP!" It seems like Danielle is finally catching the meaning. The raven lands on a sword. Nearby is the rest of her dark Valkyrie armor. Behind her, Brightwind, her pegasus steed, hoofs the ground.
So, Danielle Moonstar is in Hel. What can the New Mutants do about that? Well, they can join her and assist in some way, I guess. Illyana knows the spells and has even entered them into the Utopia database. This is where Cypher will have to take over because Magik won't be able to do any of the spell from her cell. It's a complicated spell though and has to be performed EXACTLY. Cypher even has to learn a dead language. No, really. A language used by the dead.
The information is gathered and Doug gets to work in the Danger Room. He scribbles a pattern on the floor and gets to work on that dead language. This taxes even his language skills.
When Cypher performs the spell, Magik can sense that he's done it wrong. Doug wasn't precise enough. Instead of ending up in Hel, they've gone into Hell. Ramsey freaks out. When they turn around, they get a welcome greeting.
That dude is in a hell of a lot of Fear Itself books.
Ghost Rider #2
Writer: Rob Williams
Penciler: Matthew Clark
In this issue:
• Mephisto tries to convince Johnny Blaze that the new Ghost Rider will destroy the world as we know it.
• The new Ghost Rider returns home. Adam demands that she judge her fellow disciples.
• This leads to a fight with Adam.
• Blaze is teleported to South America where he rides a bike through the jungle while wearing a hot leather costume.
• And then he infiltrates Adam's temple base with a lot of noise.
• Mephisto sends in one of his demons which is swiftly dealt with by the new Ghost Rider.
• Johnny offers to take Alejandra away from here but it looks like the new Ghost Rider would rather kill him for his sins.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
Johnny Blaze was once known as the Ghost Rider, a spirit of vengeance that either came from Heaven or Hell but most likely wasn't something he picked up from a cereal box. Being a curse, Blaze wanted OUT. When the mysterious Adam showed up offering to take the curse away, Johnny jumped on the chance. Now, he's free from being the Ghost Rider but still stuck in the legacy of the Spirit of Vengeance.
And letting Adam control the Ghost Rider? That might be a bad thing. Or, so says Mephisto. The Marvel Devil. I'm not saying Mephisto's lying... I'm just saying I wouldn't put his words at face value.
The first thing Mephisto offers Johnny Blaze is a new bike. The first thing Blaze offers Mephisto is a fist to the face. Johnny doesn't want back in this life and he certainly wants nothing to do with becoming the Ghost Rider again. I mean, if Mephisto made him Ghost Rider in the first place. It's confusing.
No matter. Mephisto claims that Johnny Storm can't be the Ghost Rider again and we all know to trust everything he says, right? Hahaha. Drop a Marvel devil into a storyline and then try taking anything said seriously. It's difficult.
One of Mephisto's minions pulls Johnny off of the demon lord and after a little chatting, Blaze wonders what he's doing here. He's not Ghost Rider and he's not going to be. What's up?
Well, as Mephisto was saying, this is all his fault and he's going to have to correct it. Blaze let the Ghost Rider go and doomed the world. This is going to require some traveling and explanation. Keep in mind, these are Mephisto's words and shouldn't just be accepted. That would be too easy.
The duo travels to the Thule Fortess that serves as the headquarters for the Serpent (this isn't the current, black haired version of the Serpent so it likely takes place during Fear Itself #2 & 3). Mephisto hides them from the Serpent's view and explains that Fear Itself is the catalyst for everything Adam is doing. Adam is ancient but hasn't really interfered in the lives of humanity. Sure, he's had plans but hadn't acted on any of them until the big threat of the Serpent reared it's head. That's when Adam decided to do what he could to save humanity.
While Mephisto is talking, the Serpent is picking up their location. This proves that Mephisto's superior powers of hiding in the details isn't as strong as the Serpent's ability to do whatever he wants.
Before the Serpent can kill them both, Mephisto has transported himself and Johnny to the FUTURE! Or at least a possible future. In this barren landscape of bald headed, robed people, Adam's dream to strip sin away from humanity has succeeded and left the remains of humanity without any drive to do anything except shave their heads and, I guess, walk around in robes. Mephisto's of the mind that sin is what makes humanity great. That ability to @#$% up everything is pretty awesome.
Johnny calls BS on this because Mephisto's real reason for wanting to stop something like this has nothing to do with helping humanity and everything to do with keeping sin alive and well in the world.
So Mephisto tries something else. He tells Johnny that the new Ghost Rider was trained from almost birth to BE the Ghost Rider. She has lived a life of seclusions and knows nothing of the outside world. Her name...
...is Alejandra, and what Mephisto is saying is actually the truth. The new Ghost Rider just went out into the world and beat up Sin. She even killed some old Ghost Rider villains. Even so, what she focuses on is getting to GO OUTSIDE. Alejandra is basically the ultimate homeschooled girl. Sure, she has other people that she's trained with but it's the lack of any other influence on her life. She's not going to fit in well at the mall is what I'm saying.
Especially in that outfit.
Adam introduces the new Ghost Rider to the rest of his pupils. He's pretty proud of her. Now, there's just one more thing to do.
She has to judge all of her fellow students. The Seeker (that's the zombie that was resurrected for the purpose of bequeathing the powers of the Ghost Rider on the next worthy individual) protests as this isn't what the power of the Ghost Rider is for. GR is supposed to punish the greatest offenders. Not people who have bad thoughts in the middle of the night. Ghost Rider is the Spirit of Vengeance. It's not supposed to even go after shoplifters.
Adam shuts the Seeker up with a hail of bullets from some of his students. These won't KILL someone who's already dead but it'll slow him down for a while.
Alejandra Ghost Riders up and looks over the other disciples. Thinking aloud, she wonders if she should start with them or...
That gets her a slap. Very well, I guess she'll start with Adam.
Adam's the kind of guy who was able to remove the Ghost Rider curse from Johnny Blaze so I doubt that this new Spirit of Vengeance will win out the day. No, it's more likely that he'll teach Ghost Rider a lesson on her place in the order. As the Seeker gets up, we hear someone screaming. It's probably Alejandra.
Meanwhile, Johnny Blaze has been teleported to the jungle surrounding Adam's ancient temple headquarters. The jungle's no place for a motorbike unless it's a Ghost Rider bike and this one isn't. Odds are pretty good that Mephisto knew that and gave Blaze one anyway. The traditional Ghost Rider suit Johnny's wearing is also not really suitable for the climate. Whatever. Johnny Blaze is here and driving towards almost certain destiny.
He blows the lid off of the temple and then drives in guns 'a blazing. The disciples of Adam fire at him but it's not like he's going to get killed like this. The bike takes most of the hits. Now, when I say something like "guns 'a blazing," I mean just that. The shotgun Johnny is using looks like a hellfire shooting weapon, just like he used to use in the nineties.
One of Johnny's shots hits Adam in the arm and ends whatever lesson the mysterious ancient dude was trying to teach Ghost Rider. Johnny falls off his bike and slides twelve feet across the temple floor. Which probably hurts. The Seeker recognizes Blaze as a former Ghost Rider and plays blocker to the next round of bullets so Johnny can reach the new Ghost Rider and save her life.
Just as he's reaching her, one of Mephisto's bruiser minions breaks through a temple wall. The new Ghost Rider attacks the creature with a weapon never seen before from a Ghost Rider. A swarm of locusts flies out of Ghost Rider's mouth and begins to devour the demon. Johnny Blaze is surprised by this attack. The Seeker just says that it's something HE could have done if he had realized his full potential.
With the demon destroyed, Johnny finally gets a chance to talk to the new GR. He offers to take her away from this place and bring her outside. It's a tempting offer, to be sure. Just not tempting enough.
Johnny Blaze gets a bloody punch to the face. This Ghost Rider WILL destroy all sin. Next on that list: Johnny Blaze!
The Avengers #83
Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciler: John Buscema
In this issue:
• Valkyrie recruits a bunch of women to join her Liberators and beat up the Avengers.
• The male Avengers show up in a Halloween Parade in Rutland, Vermont. Also in the parade is the mayor and scientist, Dr. Erwin.
• The Masters of Evil raid the parade to steal Dr. Erwin's scientific invention. The Avengers attack.
• The Liberators arrive and help the Avengers take down the Masters of Evil. Then, they turn on the Avengers and beat them in short order.
• When Erwin points out his invention, Valkyrie reveals that she is actually the Enchantress and captures the Liberators with everyone else.
• Amora explains that she is going to use the device to restore her full abilities and then make every man in the universe suffer because the Executioner left her for another woman.
• When Amora tries to kill the men with a spell, the Scarlet Witch hexes it back at the Enchantress, seemingly killing her.
• Goliath gripes about how women's lib has gone too far this time. Wanda warns that the Liberators might return someday.
December 1970! Fantastic Four #105, Iron Man #32, Captain America #132, Amazing Spider-Man #91, Daredevil #71, and Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #82 were on the stands. In Avengers #83, the overly confusing story of the Valkyrie continued.
This is the first appearance of the Valkyrie but it's only her body showing up. Her mind... that is much more vague. This is pretty much what people hate about comics. Still, it's an... interesting issue. Let's just get it started.
Women's Lib. Even taking out real world concerns, I don't think it comes as any surprise to anyone that women didn't come off as equals in comics of the sixties. The seventies didn't start off much better. While the women characters had their moments of awesome, they were usually relegated to the role of story hostage. That was pretty much what the Scarlet Witch DID. The Invisible Girl, who had led the way for Marvel women to be more than just the hero's girlfriend, was still expected to stay home and take care of the baby while the rest of the team was out adventuring. Hell, the reason Agent 13 wouldn't marry Captain America is because it would automatically lead to her quitting SHIELD to become a housewife.
To put it simply, Marvel's women still had a ways to go before they were truly equal to the male heroes.
And this little adventure? It's not going to solve anything, especially when we learn who's behind it and why.
Our story begins with the Wasp sneaking into Avengers Mansion. Janet's not on the current line-up of Avengers. In fact, she's supposed to be with Hank Pym at his Arctic Research Base where Hank and Bill Foster are observing the effects of oil drilling on the local wildlife. She's taking a break from that to visit a sick aunt and surprise the Avengers.
It turns out SHE'S the one getting surprised. Besides the Scarlet Witch, the Avengers are gone, replaced with the all woman super-hero team called the Liberators. The rest of the team is made up of Black Widow, Medusa, and their leader, Valkyrie. Everyone in the room is ready to destroy the manocracy and establish a new woman world order.
Even though she already went over her Secret Origin, Valkyrie repeats it for the newcomer. It begins when she was a lowly woman scientist trying to make a name doing science. She didn't garner much respect, especially from the horrible man named Dr. Erwin who put her down for being an inferior woman. This inspired the Valkyrie to work harder than ever. Unfortunately, the extra pressure she was putting on herself caused her to take an unexpected nap in her lab.
While passed out, the female scientist breathed in lots of random chemicals. When waking up, she found that she has super strength... and I guess a costume? Anyway, instead of proving her superiority by being the most competent scientist of her age (which was probably ruined after falling asleep in her lab while dangerous chemicals were exposed) she decided to become a super-hero and use her powers to destroy the male chauvinists in the world.
One by one, she exposes the legitimate inequalities that have kept the women at this table in unequal super-hero working conditions. When she's done, the Liberators are all committed to the mission of taking the Avengers down.
They're mission shall begin immediately. The Liberators head to the roof and board Valkyrie's chariot, led by two white stallions.
She doesn't actually tell the Liberators that the horses can fly but they could probably figure that out by the fact that the chariot is parked on the roof. She claims this is all happening through science (she probably passed out in the stables while holding dangerous chemicals) but...
All of this is a lie. That origin? Not true. The horses? Magic. The reason these women super-heroes have suddenly turned on the Avengers is not because they were convinced through logic but because they have been put under a spell.
Let's move on over to Rutland, Vermont where the male Avengers are taking part in a Halloween parade. Everyone's in costume here. This is the eleventh annual parade and it's attracted some pretty high profile guests. Why, just look there! Roy Thomas and his lovely wife, Jeanie! A comic book writer! Is there any higher profession?
Without further ado, the Avengers get on their float and join the parade. While we're waiting for the Liberators to show up and attack the Avengers, we find that they aren't the only ones who are going to fight the super-heroes today. Witness if you will, the Masters of Evil. Today, they're led by Klaw. Members include Whirlwind, Melter, and Radioactive Man.
They're here to steal the scientific device of Dr. Erwin (yeah, even though the Valkyrie origin was a lie, Erwin's a real dude and he's on one of the floats). The Masters of Evil approach the float and lean on the people on it. The Avengers are on a different float but they decide that the Masters of Evil might be the real deal and attack... even though this is Halloween and more than a few people are dressed up as super-villains.
Big fight time! Everyone splits up and takes on a villain. Melter versus Vision! Klaw versus Black Panther! Whirlwind versus Quicksilver! Goliath versus Radioactive Man! What's fun about this is that the Vision, who has thus far been shown as nearly unbeatable, gets put on the ropes by the MELTER. This is like the the best moment of his career ever.
When the Liberators arrive, the women give aid to the Avengers at first, helping the heroes defeat the villains. When Valkyrie sends them into battle, she calls Wasp a "wench." This raises the Scarlet Witch's suspicions...
When the Masters of Evil have been defeated, Quicksilver is the first to congratulate the Liberators and his sister. He's a bit confused because the Scarlet Witch bowed out of this parade because of a telegram and he wonders why Wanda is here.
To kick their @$es, of course! The Liberators turn on the heroes and defeat them easily. Valkyrie joins the fight to take down Vision and Goliath. All goes according to plan.
With the Avengers out of the picture, The Liberators take them and Dr. Erwin to the local University. Here, they find Erwin's invention, the Parallel-Time Projector. He's been holding on to the power source this whole time. For a male chaevenist pig, Erwin seems pretty helpful. He just wonders why he's showing Valkyrie his untested invention.
That's because this isn't the Valkyrie you're looking for. It's the Enchantress! She incapacitates the Liberators and monologues her actual plan.
In Hulk #102, Odin banished Amora and the Executioner to another dimension and warned that if they returned, their powers would be halved. This wasn't a total hell because at least the two were still together. Then, the Executioner met another woman and went off with her to become her Sovereign. The Enchantress was so pissed off at this that she decided to take out all of her anger on every other man in the universe. Unfortunately, her powers were cut in half when she returned to earth and that wouldn't do. This device will return her abilities to their usual level and then... then... she'll punish every man.
It's a little convoluted but she put together the Liberators because the Masters of Evil were after the device and she needed to fight them off... which might have been hard at half strength.
So she took up the cause of women after her boyfriend dumped her. How liberating.
We're at one page left in this comic so all we can do is have a quick resolution. It turns out that Wanda's not as trapped as she's let on. When "Valkyrie" called Wasp a "wench," the Scarlet Witch remembered when the Enchantress called her the same thing. This made her doubt "Val's" story and broke the influencing spell. She's been on the defense ever since and uses a hex bolt to interrupt Enchantress's spell that would kill all the men in the room. The spell flies right back at Amora and... "kills" her. We all know we'll see the Enchantress again.
After Wanda explains how she did what she did, Clint Barton gets all pissy about these women standing up for their rights. Wanda threatens to form the Liberators again and Jan thinks that'd be a good idea. Someday.
While Brunhilde didn't actually show up in this issue, Valkyrie used her powers and likeness to further her agenda. Eventually, Brunhilde's likeness would be given to Barbara Norriss and the real Valkyrie's personality became the dominant one. She's currently a member of Secret Avengers. We've still got one more Valkyrie appearance to go in a few more Super Reads so stay tuned!
And THAT. IS. IT. Thanks for Reading!
Until next time: Excelsior!
Written or Contributed by: SuperginraiX
The Outhouse is sponsored this week by Late Nite Draw. Recently featured on ComicsAlliances' Best Art Ever, he is a Chicago-based commissioned artist with a self-published Digital+Print one-shot coming out in October about the abominable snowman called ABOBAMANIMABBLE, and is also available for commissions. Check out some amazing art by clicking here or by clicking the banner at the top, and support the people who support The Outhouse.
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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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