Today, we check out Fear Itself: The Deep #3, and Blast to the Past for Astonishing Tales #6 and Marvel Team-Up #95. Enjoy and spread the word!
It's a tiny week so I make it up with back issues!
Looking to read up on everything from Secret Invasion to Heroic Age and beyond? Check no further than this link right HERE.
Fear Itself: The Deep #3
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Penciler: Lee Garbett
In this story:
• Lyra is pulled under the waves by a two-headed Tigershark and is helped out of her little jam by the rest of the Defenders.
• Loa is captured by the possessed people of New Atlantis. Both Silver Surfer and Namor head in, I guess, opposite directions to rescue her.
• Silver Surfer finds Loa but realizes that he's actually found a disguised Tyrak. He's Terrible.
• Lyra pulls off a Zen State to attack the Nameless One possessed Tigershark.
• I guess Loa frees herself and teams up with Dr. Strange to take on Aradnea. Namor catches up to help out.
• Aradnea is defeated and the Nameless One (& friends!) are sent back to their home dimension. Loa ends up killing Aradnea when the Sea Witch attempts to kill Dr. Strange.
• Now, the team prepares to find and fight Attuma. Also known as Nerkkod, Breaker of Oceans.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
Backstory: In issue #1, Nerkkod took down the city of New Atlantis with ease (and without devastating Utopia which is amazing). Since then, a Fear filled Namor and his trusty sidekick, Loa, have been trying to bring together a team to take back his city. All the while, they've been attacked by sealife possessed by the Undying Ones, demonic creatures that have been sequestered off in a side dimension for centuries. At the conclusion of their last battle, Lyra (the Savage She-Hulk) was pulled under water by a two-headed Tigershark.
If you don't know your Undying One history (and, to be honest, I'm only recently aware), I'll let you in on the Tigershark thing. That is the leader of the Undying Ones, the Nameless One, possessing TS's body. The Nameless One has two heads and two very similar personalities occupying them.
Tigershark isn't alone. Namor's Atlantean people are the next round of bodies for the Undying Ones. The Nameless One hands over the genetic daughter of the Hulk to his underlings and prepares to kill her before Lyra can drown.
Suddenly, drowning is no longer her immediate problem. Lyra finds that she can BREATH! More than that, she can fight! The rest of the Defenders join her underwater for the next fight scene.
Namor has been struggling since issue #1 to contain his fear. This has mostly resulted him him being sidelines during the fight as the rest of the team fills in his slack. Making this even worse is seeing his people possessed and attacking him. He's not going to fight his own dudes, especially after failing them.
The Atlanteans put the entire team at a disadvantage because they're innocent (MOSTLY innocent-- we're still dealing with Atlanteans, here) people possessed by demons. You can't actually hurt them in good conscience. Lyra is in the middle of a speech saying that, yes, she could do that when the Nameless One possessed Tiger Shark slams into her and starts a vicious attack.
Namor rescues her from this fight just as Loa is overcome by possessed Atlanteans. Silver Surfer zooms off to the rescue. Namor swims off to do the same. Lyra disappears. It looks like Dr. Strange is all alone.
As Namor searches for Loa, his possessed people give chase, taunting him with how their King has failed to save them. Eventually, the Sub-Mariner is able to elude them but that doesn't help him find Loa or ease his conscience. It DOES seem that their taunts has pissed him off. Maybe it's just gas.
The Silver Surfer has better luck finding Loa. She swims up to him, claiming that she got away from the possessed Atlanteans. Norrin tells Loa to get on his board and it takes about five seconds before the girl can attempt an assassination.
The Surfer gives Loa a backhand before she even gets close. That's because he knew this wasn't Loa the whole time. It's Tyrak the Terrible! Tyrak is one of Nerkkod's generals. We've seen him in previous issues. Now that he's discovered, Tyrak returns to his normal form.
And then he grows to giant size to fight the Herald of Galactus. As they fight, Tyrak thinks his victory is assured. After all, he "single-handedly defeated the AVENGERS!" Surfer doesn't think that matters and keeps blasting away at the giant bad guy.
We catch up to Lyra next. So does the Nameless One possessed Tigershark. It looks like she's meditating because that's what she's doing. The Savage She-Hulk has the reverse of the whole "the madder you get, the stronger you get" thing. For her, it's the calmer she gets, the stronger she gets. So this is her clearing up her mind so that she can lay into Tigershark.
And, yeah, she hits him. HARD. Tigershark goes flying out of this fight and the shockwaves of the hit reverberate off his troops.
Meanwhile, it looks like the real Loa actually DID escape her supposed captors. She looks around and sees Dr. Strange swimming around all alone and decides to join the former Sorceror Supreme. Strange is searching for the focal point to this extra-dimensional invasion. The Undying Ones just can't ENTER this world unless there is some thing with the power to bring them over. The two heroes swim right into the capital to find the thing and destroy it.
Well, they find the focal point but it turns out NOT to be a thing. It's Aradnea, the last of Nerkkod's generals. She is a living, breathing connection to the Undying One's realm and it is through her that all these demons are breaking into the earthly realm. After explaining her master plan (which is to subjugate the surface world after the Fear overwhelms them), Aradnea and her cronies prepare for a fight.
Namor blasts his way inside and declares that he'll deal with his possessed people, allowing Dr. Strange and Loa to focus on Aradnea.
Together, they defeat Aradnea and Dr. Strange begins the painful spell that will remove the Undying Ones from this reality. We cut outside where Silver Surfer and Lyra have joined up and are watching the Atlanteans being excorcized. The Undying Ones are returned to their home dimension and everyone's back to normal.
With that and the defeat of all three of Nerkkod's generals, New Atlantis is back in the hands of Namor. The Sub-Mariner gives Strange his congratulations. The former Sorceror Supreme takes the compliment by nearly passing out.
While no one's looking, Aradnea gets back to her feet and tries to stab the still-weakened Dr. Strange through the head with a trident. She's stopped by Loa. LETHALLY stopped. The mutant uses her powers to poke a hole through Aradnea's chest with her fist. The Sea Witch comes apart.
Loa is shocked at what she's just done but Dr. Strange comforts her by telling her there was no other choice.
The rest of the team joins them and they start celebrating their victory. The Sub-Mariner tells the Defenders that this isn't over yet. New Atlantis might be free but there's still the Breaker of Oceans to deal with...
Astonishing Tales Featuring Ka-Zar and Dr. Doom #6
Writer: Gerry Conway
Penciler: Barry Windsor-Smith
In this issue:
• Ka-Zar and Tongah witness the return of an ancient god, Damon. Tongah recalls the history of Damon.
• Damon starts to flood the valley where Tongah's village lies. Ka-Zar and his friend fight over fighting the god.
• During all of this, a strange brunette girl arrives at Lord Plunder's mansion in England and demands to see Ka-Zar for the "fate of the worlds!"
• Tongah's village reaches safety while the Lord of the Hidden Land and his friend fight Damon. They both get tossed over the side of a waterfall. When Zabu joins the fight.the sabretooth is struck as well.
• Tongah's sister and kid brother see a light at the back of their sanctuary cave.
• Damon gets ready to kill some dudes.
June 1971! Avengers #89, Amazing Spider-Man #97, Fantastic Four #111, Captain America #138, Daredevil #77, and The Incredible Hulk #140 were on the stands. In Astonishing Tales #6, Agent 19 was going to make the briefest first appearance imaginable.
Agent 19? That's Barbara Morse. You might know her better as Mockingbird, the on-again/ off-again wife (yes, wife-- it's confusing) of Hawkeye. Let's get right to the first appearance. Blink twice, and you're liable to miss her.
The place? The Savage Land. The main player? Ka-Zar. His buddy? Tongah. His sabretooth tiger? Zabu. The time? The middle of the night.
Ka-Zar wakes up feeling uneasy. Tongah and Zabu join him. In the distance, the sky is lit up but it's fading quickly. Even though Ka-Zar's still concerned, it looks like the moment has passed.
The three are about to go back to bed when lightning flies out of the sky and right down to where they are standing. When they get a chance to look up, they see a red haired, bearded man in golden armor riding a flaming pegasus. This man claims to be a god and, what's more, he is getting ready for some vengeance.
So that's awesome. Let's move far north to Stately Plunder Manor in Merry Olde Englande. While this is the childhood home of Kevin Plunder (you know him better as Ka-Zar), the Lord of the Hidden Land doesn't reside here very often. Maybe the girl racing up to the front door in the rainy night doesn't know that. The brunette knocks on the door. When it opens, she begs to know where Ka-Zar is. She says that the "fate of worlds" is in the balance.
Back in the Savage Land, Tongah sees the flying god and tells Ka-Zar the story of Damon and Lelania who came to the Savage Land in the far far away times. These two gods came to this place to act like people and I guess, love each other. Like people. That meant no changing into swans. This lasted for just as long as it took for the wildlife to get angry at them. Lelania was killed by a charging ceratops.
Damon took this just about as well as you'd expect and decided to use his godly powers to flood the land. You know the deal. Forty days. Forty nights. Biblical stuff from a non-Biblical source. Tongah doesn't claim this to be a flood that covers the world but that's probably because he only really cares about this Savage Land.
After that flood, Damon disappeared and now it looks like he's returned to deliver more of the same. The valley is flooding. This is of immediate danger to Tongah's people who live in the village below. Swiftly, we're introduced to Tongah's sister, Tatia, and his kid brother, Emuel. They cry out for their brother's help and then we're back with Ka-Zar and company.
Tongah wants to attack the weather god but Ka-Zar is making this difficult, holding the Savage Land native back and attempting to assert his authority during a bad situation. Damon sees the two fighting below him and believes that his actions are that much more justified. Killing people is totally cool if you witness other people fighting.
Let's visit the wierd girl once more back in England. The brunette tells the Plunder staff that she may have never met the Lord of this mansion but she knows that if she doesn't see him soon, he'll die.
If you just blinked for a second time, you might have just missed Bobbi's first appearance. Yep. She WAS that brunette. More on her later.
Right now, we've got some story finishing to do. Don't expect a satisfactory conclusion to this story in this issue. The story of Damon continues into the next issue and we're not going to follow. What I will do is finish THIS issue.
Tongah and Ka-Zar stop their pointless fighting. They have a god to fight. Tongah also realizes that the people of his village aren't in real danger since they've go evacuation plans in place just in case the valley floods. So let's get to the god fight.
Now, Ka-Zar is stronger than your average mortal. He's tougher, more durable, and a hell of a fighter. I'm pretty sure we would still agree that if he's fighting someone on Thor's level, Kevin Plunder loses. That's the case here. Ka-Zar and Tongah are both tossed off the side of the waterfall. Zabu leaps at the god next but gets blasted by Damon's scepter.
Don't worry about Ka-Zar and Tongah. They land in the water below and are fine.
The villager's evac plan leades to a dry cave at the top of the hills. Tongah's brother and sister are part of this group. Emuel is drawn away by a light at the back of the cave. Tatia follows. It's a light that seems to pulse with life.
Outside, Damon's plans haven't changed. He's going to flood the Savage Land. Below, Ka-Zar and Tongah can't do a lick about it.
So that's the end of this tale.
Now, we can pretty easily sum up the Damon storyline. He killed Ka-Zar, right?
OK, odds are that everyone gets out of that alright and odds are pretty good that the light in the back of the cave has something to do with it.
Now, our main concern is Bobbi Morse. She eventually journeys to the Savage Land with her fiance, Paul, and they find Ka-Zar. After some adventures where they play particularly minor roles, they finally convince the Lord of the Savage Land to journey with them to Florida. All that talk about the "fate of worlds" and Ka-Zar's death? Thrown out the window. This probably has something to do with multiple writer changes before someone, Roy Thomas, decided what to do with the Bobbi Morse storyline.
And what he decides was that Bobbi was the vehicle in which to bring the Man-Thing from it's first black and white adventure into the colorful Marvel Universe. Morse was involved in the Super-Soldier project that included Ted Sallis. She brought in Ka-Zar to find Sallis before AIM could do the same. It's a hell of a far fetched plot but there you go. At least it has some sweet, sweet, Neal Adams art.
Lord of the Savage Land tracks down Sallis in the Florida Everglades.
Of course, his mission is destined for success and failure at the same time. Ted Sallis is now the Man-Thing and even though Ka-Zar succeeds in capturing the creature, no one knows that it's really their missing scientist. Of course, Bobbi's fiance is revealed to be the lead AIM scientist on the scene, opening up the doors for a relationship between Morse and Plunder.
And, of course, that's a relationship that never goes anywhere.
After leaving the Ka-Zar series, Nick Fury takes Agent 19 away from her scientific roots and exploits her high aptitude in more traditional spy pursuits. Eventually, Bobbi is recruited by the United States Congress to investigate SHIELD for high level corruption. This leads her into a super-hero costume for the first time as the Huntress. She has one adventure in this suit in the black and white magazine, Marvel Super Action #1. This ends in a bloody gunfight in Mexico.
The next time we see her is...
Marvel Team-Up #95
Writer: Stephen Grant
Penciler: Jimmy Janes
In this story:
• Peter Parker and Bobbi Morse leave the Kennedy International Airport at the same time. One of them is attacked by Agents of SHIELD. Guess which?
• Spider-Man helps the newly christened Mockingbird and completely regrets it when he learns he was fighting the presumed good guys.
• Mockingbird abandons Spidey, leaving the wall-crawler stuck on a flying car he can't control. When he leaps off, the wind whips him right on the rocky cliff below.
• When Peter wakes up, he's at a local SHIELD facility with the local director, Delandan and an LMD Nick Fury. Delandon recruits Spider-Man to take down Mockingbird before the lady can assassinate the real Fury.
• Mockingbird infiltrates the SHIELD complex and fights her way through a room full of agents before confronting the LMD Nick Fury. She sees his eyes and realizes that this is a trap.
• Spider-Man fights Mockingbird. When Bobbi is incapacitated, Delandon reveals HIMSELF as the bad guy and fights both the Web-Slinger and Morse with a power suit and Satan Claw.
• After a lengthy fight, the battle is overturned by the LMD Nick Fury... who is actually the REAL Nick Fury PLAYING as an LMD.
• Yeah, that's not overly complicated...
• SHIELD Agents rush in but don't realize that Mockingbird is on the up and up. They shoot her.
• Fury rushes Bobbi to the hospital and makes a mental note to have changes made to SHIELD no matter the fate of Mockingbird.
Peter Parker is just returning from Los Angeles, arriving at the Kennedy International Airport. On his flight is a hot blonde lady and Peter makes sure to follow her out of the airport (purpose or accident? I'm guessing Peter's subconscious is at work). A duo in suits rushes past our hero and Parker's spider-sense goes into overdrive.
The suits are after the blonde. These guys have the subletly of a bull. Confronting the lady in the parking lot, they give her ample time to prepare for them and then kick their butts. Yeah, if you're already confused, the blonde is Bobbi Morse. That should have been an easy one considering our subject.
It turns out that these two mooks were the decoys. The real trouble comes from a nearby car. A man gets out of his seat and fires a blaster right at Bobbi. This is a killing shot, or WOULD be if Morse wasn't wearing her new super-hero get-up underneath her street clothes. The super-hero shirt, while having a plunging neckline, is laser-proof.
Spidey takes care of the guy with a laser gun, giving Bobbi a chance to complete her change into Mockingbird. Morse doesn't stick around long enough to thank Spider-Man and is already off to the next threat before Spider-Man catches up to her.
And what, pray tell, IS that next threat? A flying car.
At about this point, we're all clued in on who's the aggressors, here. This is a SHIELD operation. Spider-Man is the only one still a few pages behind and he continues to thrash agents in Mockingbird's defense. Bobbi joins him up in the flying car after the fight is over and the two drive out of the parking lot.
Mock explains that they were just fighting SHIELD Agents and Spider-Man is filled with tasty regret. Peter tries to get Mockingbird to turn herself in but that's not on the agenda. After programming the car to fly off over the ocean, Mockingbird departs to pursue her self-proclaimed mission. She lands gracefully.
Spider-Man? Not so much. There's nothing out here for him to web-sling on. He tries to make a web cushion to fall onto but the wind picks up as he leaps out of the car and he ends up landing on his head against the rocks. Our hero drops into a pain filled sleep.
When Peter wakes up, he finds himself in a SHIELD bunker talking to the local Director, Dalandan. Spidey apologizes for attacking SHIELD Agents but they WERE firing guns at an airport. Better safe than sorry, right?
Behind Delandan is Nick Fury. A closer inspection of his eyes shows us that they are the blank white eyes of an LMD. Delandan ordered up this Fury LMD to trick Mockingbird into attacking this facility. He claims that Bobbi Morse is trying to ASSASSINATE Nick Fury and gives Spider-Man a quick history of Bobbi Morse from SHIELD's perspective. This is enough to convince Spider-Man to help in Mockingbird's takedown.
Morse walks right into this trap because it's her only lead on finding Nick Fury. She sees the entrance to this SHIELD base is covered in SHIELD Agents but still walks inside. It looks like her codes still work. Once inside, she fights her way through a SHIELD trap like they're amateurs.
Confronting the LMD Fury, Morse chasing him down and uses her battle staves to trip Fury up. Only when she gets close enough does she realize that this is an LMD.
Cue the Spider-Man attack.
It lasts three panels before Spidey webs up her feet. Stuck in place, Bobbi can do nothing but explain herself. She's obviously not here to kill Nick Fury. She was trying to contact him to deliver some vital intelligence. As Huntress, Bobbi was looking into SHIELD for corruption. Since then, she's gathered TONS of information. It's stored in her earring.
When that is revealed, Dalandan rushes into the room in a battle suit and uses her Satan Claw gauntlet to backhand Spider-Man to the ground. Dalandan follows this up with a spritz of gas from the gauntlet which knocks Spider-Man out of the fight for a while.
With Spider-Man out of commission, the local SHIELD Director confronts Mockingbird. She tosses one of her battle staves but misses. Dalandan burns her ear (and that earring) and then threatens to kill HER as well.
The two heroes do a nice rally but they soon find themselves passed out on the floor yet again. Is this the end?
Nah. The Fury LMD takes this moment to act! It turns out that this wasn't an LMD at all. It's the real Fury wearing contact lenses! Dalandan is quickly subdued. Fury explains that he has been suspicious of this local Director and decided to fill in for his own LMD to further investigate. Spider-Man recognized Nick so he was let in on the plan.
Bobbi has a copy of the secret intelligence. When she's running over to get this to Nick Fury, the room fills with SHIELD Agents who still think Bobbi Morse is a rogue agent trying to assassinate their boss. They open fire as Nick Fury shouts at them to stop. Mockingbird is critically injured but the soul still burns. Nick Fury carries her off to a hospital, declaring that changes to the SHIELD organization will happen when he gets back.
Mockingbird lived and went on to marry Clint Barton in, like, a week and became a charter member of the West Coast Avengers. About twenty issues into the regular series, Bobbi was drugged into having a "relationship" with the Phantom Rider in the Wild, Wild, West. Because of this, she didn't save the Phantom Rider when he was hanging from a cliff during their confrontation. This whole incident changed her relationship to her husband, who put this down to his wife killing someone. They were set to be divorced when Mockingbird was abducted by Skrulls. While in Skrull custody, Mockingbird's Skrull replacement was killed (AWC #100). This meant it was a complete surprise when she turned up alive at the end of Secret Invasion.
Bobbi definitely had a lot of issues on returning. Currently, her life has come full circle. After suffering fatal injuries against a reformed HAMMER, Mockingbird was given an experimental Super-Soldier Serum combined with the Infinity Formula. This saved her life and gave her some super-powers and longevity, besides. Bobbi is serving on Luke Cage's New Avengers team.
And we are done! Woo! Thanks for Reading!
Until next time: Excelsior!
Written or Contributed by: SuperginraiX