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Super Reads AvX: Week 4

Written by SuperginraiX on Tuesday, April 24 2012 and posted in Features
Super Disco Breakin'Let's bust another week of AvX out!  WATCH as he reads... Avengers vs. X-Men #2!  Avengers #25!  Wolverine and the X-Men #9! and Fantastic Four #36!

Spoilers Ahead!

SuperReads AvX Week 4

And now we hit the second slammin' issue of Avengers vs. X-Men!  Let the fight continue!

Here's how this works.  I read a Marvel Event comic book and then I write it up in three levels of detail.  We do a nutshell where I write a sentence or two to tell you what is what, then I bullet point things to get a bit more detail, and I finally just write up the entire comic, giving as many details and back issue references as I can fit it.  Somewhere in there, I also provide some visuals with reworked panels.

So I read the comics and then I write about them.  It's like rocket science if rocket science was about reading and writing about comics.

And that's pretty much it.  This ain't my first rodeo.  I've been covering Marvel events since Secret Invasion, back when I was a wide-eyed young fanboy with hope for the future.  :)  You can read about it all in the massive Super Reads section on the site.

Let's go over some important bits so I don't have to repeat them during the comic write-ups.

You've got to give the firebird props for igniting in a vacuum.The Phoenix is coming!  The Phoenix is coming!

This is pretty much the basis of the entire event. The Phoenix Force, a cosmic entity that has the power of death and rebirth, is on its way to Earth.  This isn't the first time the big flaming bird has come to our little planet.  The first time in modern memory, the Phoenix took the form of the X-Man known as Marvel Girl.  This is something that isn't well explained in the event, neither by any of the players or by the front page copy describing the back story.  It's important.  The Phoenix that appeared in Uncanny X-Men #'s 101-138 was NOT Jean Grey even though no one, including the writers, knew that until a few years after the storyline had continued.  The Phoenix Force took Jean Grey's form and memories to the point where even IT believed it was Jean Grey.  The entity then placed the radiation damaged body of Marvel Girl within a healing cocoon at the bottom of the Hudson River where no one would notice it for a couple years.

While the Phoenix pretended to be Jean Grey, it ended up using its powers to save the universe, fixing a reality-altering M'Kraan Crystal in one of the X-Men's cosmic adventures.  It fought alongside the rest of the X-Men heroically for almost all of its time as Jean Grey.  It wasn't until the mutant Mastermind started messing around with the Phoenix that things started to go terribly wrong.  After Mastermind was done, the Phoenix could barely keep itself together and officially changed into the Dark Phoenix.  The Dark Phoenix used its powers to cause a star to super-nova, basking in the released energies to repower itself.  This super-nova doomed an orbiting planet.

The Phoenix has returned to Earth several times, using other mutants as "hosts."  One of the best known hosts is Rachel Grey, the alternate future daughter of Scott Summers and Jean Grey.  In all of these cases, the Phoenix's powers have been held in check though the explanation given is that these hosts only hold a small fraction of the Phoenix Force.

With the entire entity coming to Earth and all bets going on its future host being the mutant messiah named Hope, no one knows what the results are going to be.

More patriotic than you can ever hope to be.The Phoenix Force heading to Earth should be something treated with the utmost cuaion, which is where Captain America and the Avengers are coming from.  Cap's plan is to take Hope into custody and get her off planet, hoping that the Phoenix Force will adjust course from Earth in pursuit of its intended new host.  Rogers has also sent a team of Avengers into space to intercept the cosmic entity.

Why Captain America's plan is moronic
His plan is to MOVE THE BAIT OFF PLANET.  This involves so many assumptions on the nature of the Phoenix that it's probably the worst plan in Captain America's history.  It certainly doesn't show sensitivity to the bait or the world's remaining mutant population.

Commander Rogers keeps making the claim that he came to Utopia to cooperate with the X-Men.  Don't you believe it.  Imagine, if you will, that one of your peers, maybe even a local police officer, came to your house and instead of coming right to the door and ringing the bell, they stood on the curb, facing the street, forcing you to come to them.  Captain America was establishing a tone in the very beginning of this series and it wasn't "How can we work together?"  It was "I'm the boss and you're going to do what I say."

Being the leader of the mutant race gives Scott a headache.Cyclops and his X-Men are approaching the Phoenix from the rebirth angle.  A few years back, the mutant population was magically decimated, leaving only around two hundred powered mutants remaining in the world and no new mutants being born.  Hope was the first and only mutant birth to happen since the Decimation.  She has already used some of her Phoenix-like powers to power up five new mutants (called the five lights).  The hope is that a fully Phoenix'd up mutant messiah might be able to completely restore the mutant race.

Why Cyclops' plan is moronic
Again, a leader is basing things off of assumptions rather than fact.  As Cap said in the first issue, Scott Summers is too close to the problem.  Hope is his grand-daughter and the presumed savior of the mutant race.  He's too emotionally attached to the situation to be thinking clearly.  Add that to Cyclops' and the X-Men's general feeling of being second class citizens and you've got a bunch of people who are just ready to lash out at every threat or percieved threat to Utopia.

And while the Phoenix's threat is undetermined to the people on the ground (no one in this fight knows that the Phoenix Force is killing planets off on its way to Earth), Scott's personal experience with the entity should give him more of a sense of caution.  Unfortunately, we're talking about the guy who thought resurrecting Dracula was a great way to handle a vampire invasion so this might not even be Scott's worst tactical decision.

And, of course, you add this to the Marvel Universe's general philosophy of fighting over easily resolved misunderstandings.  No one is compromising.  No one is even thinking that as an option... well, STORM is, but no one's listening to her.

OK.  Without any further ado...

Avengers vs. X-Men #2Avengers vs. X-Men #2
Writers: Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Jonathan Hickman, & Matt Fraction
Script: Jason Aaron
Penciler: John Romita Jr.
Inker: Scott Hanna
Editor: Tom Brevoort

Click HERE for Super Reads Avengers vs. X-Men #1!

The issue in a nutshell:
Everybody was kung-fu fighting!  Those heroes were fast as lightning!  Oh, and Hope gets more Phoenix powers as the Force gets closer to Earth.

This issue by bullet points:

• Avengers... versus X-Men!

• Cyclops and Captain America argue why this is all the other guy's fault.

• Emma Frost brings Hope Summers indoors to be guarded by the younger X-Men.

• Quicksilver joins the fight against Magneto after catching the action on television.  Scarlet Witch MAY join in as well.

• Wolverine and Spider-Man infiltrate Utopia in order to capture or kill Hope.

• By this point, Hope has beaten up all her "guards" and fires up some flaming Phoenix powers to make Wolverine extra crispy.

• Avengers and X-Men arrive to see the results of this confrontation.  Hope has suited up and left.

• In outer space, the Space Avengers confront the Phoenix Force.

This issue in EXTREME detail:

This issue starts right where the last issue left off.  The SHIELD Helicarrier has decloaked off the coast of the mutant island of Utopia.  Jets take to the air.  Avengers pose on the deck.

Cyclops has already eye beamed Captain America directly in the shield.  That doesn't mean anyone else has thrown a punch.  While New Avengers #25 made it look like the Avengers leapt right off the Helicarrier into action, AvX #2 tells a different story...

On the beach, more X-Men have gathered around Cyclops.  Storm (who didn't actually show up last issue) yells at Scott for picking a fight with the Avengers.  She's actually a member of Earth's Mightiest Heroes and offers to go talk this out.  Yeah, that's not going to happen.  It doesn't take much to convince Ororo that the Avengers are the bullies in this situation.

Up in the Helicarrier, the Avengers think Cyclops is crazy.  He's on an island loaded with teenage mutants, picking a fight with the Avengers.  Like Utopia wasn't a target every Wednesday.  What could Cyclops do next?

Magnetic Fastball Special.  That's Magneto shooting Colossus and the Helicarrier.  THIS is when Avengers start pouring out of the aircraft and it's because they've lost their floor.  On what's left of the deck, Red Hulk begins his fight with Colossus, further damaging the craft.

Avengers spill out into the water where they are met by Namor.  The Sub-Mariner has been on both teams but is definitely supporting the X-Men in this conflict and believes the Avengers are being dicks-- and he would know.  After smacking the Thing out of the water, Namor is attacked by Luke Cage.  Since this is a fight involving Namor in the ocean, Luke doesn't stand a chance.

With the "landing" out of the way, it's Avengers versus X-Men action!

In the background of pretty much every fight scene, you'll see random Avenger fighting random X-Man.  The rosters of both teams are massive.  The Avengers side is lined with everyone on the current teams except for those sent up into outer space to confront the Phoenix Force.  The X-Men are at only half their usual strength since the mutants who left with Wolverine during last year's Schism are still not involved with this action.  Yet.  Give it time.

In the foreground, Cyclops and Captain America, swatting each other around and blaming the other person for this whole event.  It's a great time in modern comics.

While heroes and mutants knock the crap out of each other, some of the younger X-Men (Pixie, Velocidad, Transonic, Loa, and Surge) are removed from the action but watching the proceedings with interest.  The kids definitely aren't getting involved with fighting the Avengers.  Yet.  Emma Frost drags Hope up to join them.  She's the prize in this fight and no one wants her on the field of combat where any Avenger might try to make off with her.  The other mutants are put on guard duty.

Emma runs back out into the fight, intent on using her psychic powers to end the fight in half a minute.  That would be great except Iron Man has an app to defend against psychic attacks.  The feed back nearly takes Emma out of the fight until she switches to diamond form and gets physical with Tony Stark.

Tagging into the fight is the Master of Magnetism, Magneto!  If you aren't familiar with Iron Man, you might think this fight is a no-brainer in Magnus's favor.  It's not.  Tony's armor should be almost impossible to attack magnetically.  It's been tried before, several armors ago.

This won't last long but it does end up on the television during CCN's live coverage of the event.  Watching from a remote location is Quicksilver and his twin sister, the Scarlet Witch.  Pietro reacts badly to seeing his father attacking the Avengers so he suits up and joins the fight in 3.7 seconds.  Wanda, already in her usual costume, turns off the TV and walks out of the room.  We get a look at her "Dream Journal" in the last panel.  It has "This is how the world ends!" written on one page and a sketch of the Phoenix Force on the other side.

Back in the thick of the conflict, a lot of X-Men take out their frustrations on that "traitor," Wolverine.  For an even more emotionally charged fight, witness Black Panther's confrontation with Storm.  Ororo claims to have had no warning about this attack, which flies right in the face of her appearance in New Avengers #24.  Sure, she left at just the mention of the Phoenix but she HAD to know what was going to happen.

This is because Brian Bendis, a co-plotter involved in this event, is most inconsistant with his OWN continuity.  It's a constant problem.

Back up with the younger X-Men, Hope demands to get involved in the fight.  Since her "guards" wouldn't approve, Hope starts things off by breaking Transonic's nose.

This scene is followed up with more Cyclops vs. Captain America fun.

If Cyclops manages to hit Cap somewhere that isn't a shield by the end of this series, I owe you a soda.

Since we've already talked about these two's differing stance to death, I can waste some space here talking about how Scott has no chance of winning a physical confrontation against Steve Rogers.  MAYBE he can win a WAR against Captain America if he focuses and doesn't lead with his emotions but that is debatable.

I mean, I'm a huge Cyke fan and I still think Cap would best Cyclops tactically.

Let's go around the battlefield for a moment.  Rulk is still fighting Colossus.  Thing and Luke Cage are doubling up on Namor, still in the water.  Mags and Emma are taking on Dr. Strange.  Dr. Nemesis has at least temporarily beaten Quicksilver and now fires... needles or something at Iron Man.

In the middle of all this Cyclops send Magik teleporting away in what looks like an attempt to remove Hope from Utopia.  It's really a feint to draw Dr. Strange away from the fight on Utopia into a brand new one in Limbo.

Utopia's defenses are falling, thanks to Iron Man's hacking skills.  It's around this time that Cyclops loses track of Wolverine.

That's because he and Spider-Man are infiltrating the island's exterior through a drain pipe.  When they reach Hope, the mutant messiah has already beaten all of her guards.  She's also on fire, a sure sign that the Phoenix Force is getting closer.  Logan doesn't waste any time popping his claws and go in to kill first, ask questions... he's not gonna ask questions, ever.

And then this happens.

Oh man, I'm loving this much more than I should.

The Avengers and X-Men burst into the room after the fight is over.  Both Wolverine and Spider-Man are both out of the action (at least temporarily).  Hope has had the time to put on her costume (or Phoenixed it up) and started her run away from Utopia.

In "deep space," the Space Avengers meet a cosmic entity and get ready for a fight they can't possibly win.

Even with Thor.

The Avengers #25The Avengers #25
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Walter Simonson
Inker: Scott Hanna
Editor: Tom Brevoort

The issue in a nutshell:
Thor returns to the Avengers just in time for all the team to get a solid win against AIM.  The Protector might have just been ordered to betray the Avengers over the Phoenix Force.

The issue by bullet points:

• Avengers versus X-Men on Utopia!

• Back to the past, Captain America blows off some steam in the training room, frustrated over recent events.

• Thor returns to the team.  Pep talks happen.

• The Protector tracks down the forces of AIM that were working with HAMMER last week.

• The team makes the scene and gets a "solid win" against Advanced Idea Mechanics.

• After getting congrats from Captain America and Iron Man, the Protector is contacted by the Supreme Intelligence.  The Phoenix is coming and the Kree Empire has... plans.

The issue in EXTREME detail:

We start the issue by making sure everyone remembers that this is an AvX tie-in issue.  The Avengers fight the X-Men all over the mutant island of Utopia.

With that scene out of the way, we hit the flashback button and back up our story to well before an event based action.  Captain America is making a mess of the Avengers' version of the Danger Room.  Steve's wearing his stresses right out on his sleeves.  Everyone can tell.

Tony Stark chalks it up to being rough at the top based on his own time as Top Cop (even though he shouldn't have any memories of that, he's probably read up on just how terrible it was).  While he's explaining this, Hawkeye and Spider-Woman start not paying attention and making out.  So, that finally happened.

Steve goes to a balcony to sulk some more.  The recent history of the team is kind of depressing.  We see images of Viper (one of the big name Hydra higher ups), Norman Osborn (HAMMER), and Wonder Man (a former Avenger who thinks that the team is the cause of a lot of trouble).  Some of their accusations are sinking right in.

And here comes Thor.  The god of thunder has been recently dead and just got back to rejoin the team.  He talks to a downtrodden Steve Rogers and eventually breaks the super-soldier out of that deep blue funk in which Cap has been wallowing.  Even so, Rogers could really use a win that proves exactly why the Avengers exist.

And here it comes.

The Protector, the inter-dimensional Kree member of the Avengers, has used his crazy space science to track down the AIM terrorist that were working with Norman Osborn during the last storyline.  Iron Man confirms the location as Canada.

Road Trip!

Let's go on ahead of the Avengers to AIM's Canadian base where the current Scientist Supreme, Dr. Rappaccini, is giving a terrible speech to her followers about the nature of Advanced Idea Mechanics.  They DO have a lot of information regarding the Avengers... but so did Norman Osborn.  Let's watch 'em fall.

The Avengers manage to mask their approach for a surprise attack.

Iron Man has made a lot of friends in recent years.

This is pretty much the most straight forward win you'll ever see.  There's really no trouble that the Avengers can't deal with.  Storm ends up getting knocked out of the sky but Thor is there to catch her.

Before the Avengers reach AIM's inner chamber, Rappaccini attempts to cut and run.  Not quickly enough, however.  The room goes dark and all we see is Cap's shield flying through the air on a direct path to the Scientist Supreme.

The bad guys are rounded up and arrested.  Dr. Rappaccini tries giving your basic "We'll get you next time, heroes!" speech but no one's buying it.  It's a good day and nothing's gonna mess it up.

When the team returns from this mission, it's high fives all around but Cap and Iron Man give some special props to the Protector.  Without him, none of this would be possible.

Noh-Varr (that's the Protector) head to his quarters and makes a call home, through the interdimensional rift or whatever.  The Supreme Intelligence answers and congratulates his agent for safeguarding the planet Earth.  While this remains his primary goal, another threat looms on the horizon that will become his even MORE primary mission.

The Phoenix Force is coming.

The Protector must capture the Phoenix.  If the Avengers can help him do that, excellent.  If not...

Well, let's not expect everything to go right.

Wolverine and the X-Men #9Wolverine and the X-Men #9
Writer: Jason Aaron
Penciler: Chris Bachalo
Inkers: Tim Townsend, Jaime Mendoza, & Al Vey
Editor: Nick Lowe

The issue in a nutshell:
Captain America recruits Wolverine.  Former Phoenix Force wielders drop unconscious.  Majestor Gladiator heads to Earth.

The issue by bullet points:

• Aliens bet on what planet the Phoenix will destroy next.

• Wolverine and the Beast get dressed after the Phoenix alarm goes off.

• Captain America arrives at the School to recruit Logan.

• Warbird gets a garbled message from Shi'ar ruler, Gladiator, warning about the Phoenix and giving instructions that aren't understood.

• Kid Omega and Rachel Grey pass out at the same time.  They're both ex-Phoenix hosts.

• Wolverine agrees to fight against Utopia on the side of the Avengers.

• Majestor Gladiator heads to Earth to pick up his bratty son.

The issue in EXTREME detail:

Somewhere in the Milky Way Galaxy, there is a planet called Sin.  This looks to be a gambling world with bets being placed on what planets the Phoenix Force is going to destroy.

So that's pretty terrible.  Let's move on...

Welcome to the Jean Grey School of Higher Learning, the school founded by Wolverine after Schism to teach younger mutants in the use of their powers while keeping the kids out of the fight.  While Wolverine has done better than I would have expected (the school IS still standing), that doesn't mean it's been an easy nine issues.  Anything that can go wrong HAS gone wrong.  I hear it's been a lot of fun.

Headmaster Wolverine and Vice-Principal Beast are enjoying the quiet after last issue's misadventures.  Before they can get too comfortable, a very special alarm sounds: a deep space alarm alerting them to the imminent arrival of the Phoenix Force.  Logan and Hank put on their super-hero gear and wait for the even more imminent arrival of...

Captain America.

Instead of waiting on the edge of the school grounds and making Wolverine come to him, Cap does Logan the courtesy of walking through the front door... and then he's subjected to a surprise Danger Room session.  Oh yeah.  The whole place is a Danger Room and it likes to malfunction.  A lot.

Maybe this is why he just waits on the beach of Utopia...

After Cap survives a multitude of attacks, Logan arrives and turns off the death trap.  The computer gives the super-soldier a grade of "B-."  Steve greets Hank and Logan and they start talking about the Phoenix.

The Jean Grey School has a special intergalactic student, Kid Gladiator, the snotty kid of the Shi'ar Majestor, Gladiator.  Being royalty, the kid has his own bodyguard, Warbird.  During a meditation session, Warbird gets a call from Gladiator himself.  The transmission is sketchy because of Phoenix interference so the bodyguard isn't going to get what Gladiator is talking about but WE can guess.  The Phoenix is coming.  Evacuate entire... school?  Planet?  Either way, get the royal brat off planet.

In another part of the school, Cannonball is giving flight instruction.  Sam uses the class time to talk to his fellow instructor and sister, Paige, to ask her how she's doing.  By the angry response, we can all guess on that: not well.

Crazy powerful mutant, Kid Omega (Quentin Quire), is up in the air, flying with the rest of the class, when the proximity of the Phoenix Force knocks him unconscious.  While running telepathic detention, Instructor Rachel Grey has a similar experience but much closer to the ground.  Both of these two are previous hosts to the Phoenix.

Someone is going to have to catch Quentin vefore he hits the ground.  Leave it to heroic janitor, Toad, who snags the plummeting mutant with his tongue.  This astonishing rescue earns Toad the attention of Paige Guthrie, promising future creepy romance.

On the ground and safe, Quentin sits up and gives a warning about the Phoenix.

Meanwhile, Captain America is meeting with Wolverine and Beast.  When Steve mentions a space mission to confront the Phoenix, Hank McCoy leaps at the chance to join it.  After he leaves, we are treated with a re-imagining of Cap and Logan's meeting in Avengers vs. X-Men #1.  Logan tells Steve about Hope Sumers and the trouble it'll be extracting her from Utopia.  Captain America asks Wolverine to stand with the Avengers against the X-Men.  This proves to be a difficult decision.

Before making a final decison on betraying the X-Men, Logan meets with Co-Headmaster, Kitty Pryde, in the infirmary to check on Rachel and Quentin.  Both are resting but otherwise fine.  Phoenix rumors are running rampant.  Wolverine tells Kitty to call a staff meeting but won't tell her anything else.

Still indecisive, the Canucklehead walks out to the statue of Jean Grey to ask for advice.  Instead, he finds slightly insane mutant, Idie Okonkwo, having lunch at the statue's base.  Idie tells Logan a secret: she likes the Jean Grey School.  So does Wolverine.  Maybe they should make the bathrooms Danger Room free zones, though...

Staff meeting!  Wolverine tells everyone that the Phoenix is on its way.  Wolverine is joining the Avengers team that will attempt to put Hope into protective custody.  The school and the rest of the instructors (besides Beast) will stay out of the fight.

As Hank and Logan leave for their missions, Beast knows what Wolverine has on his mind: KILLING Hope.  That's not something Hank will ever agree with.  Sure, protective custody is fine but final solutions aren't on his approved list.

Farewells are said.  Logan mentions Beast having Bamfs crawling in his fur at miniature size.  Maybe that'll be imporant later on or maybe it's just color.  Anyway, it's time for Logan to catch his Helicarrier.

It's this personal service that has one Wolverine over to the Avengers' side.

As Wolverine leaves, the mutant who can see the future but can never really give any good hints regarding it, Blindfold, starts to cry.

I guess that's a PRETTY good hint...

On Planet Sin, bets are again open.  Everyone is putting money on Earth's destruction.

On the planet Chandilar, Gladiator, Majestor of the Shi'ar Imperium, gets news that his recent message to Earth did NOT get through.  He gets ready to leave for Earth to retrieve his son but the Chancellor won't allow this until he orders the Phoenix Protocols activated.  That means sending the Death Commandos to scorch a little Earth.

Fantastic Four #36Fantastic Four #36
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciler: Jack Kirby
Inker: Chic Stone
Editor: Stan Lee

The issue in a nutshell:
Reed and Sue announce their engagement to the world and have an engagement party with every super-hero they can find.  The frightful Four forms and attempts to destroy the Fantastic Four but they don't succeed, of course.

The issue by bullet points:

• Reporters and Cameramen arrive at the Baxter Building when Reed Richards and Sue Storm announce their engagement.

• On the wharf, Paste-Pot Pete, Sandman, and the Wingless Wizard meet, explain how they originally got together, and then the Wizard tells them all aobut Madam Medusa.

• Wedding plans procede!

• The Fightful Four is assembled.  The Wizard adopts his over-sized head gear for the first time.

• The current heroes of the Marvel Universe assemble for the first time... at Reed and Sue's engagement party!

• After everyone leaves, the Frightful Four strike.  After a fight, the bad guys take down Thing, Mr. Fantastic, and the Invisible Girl.

• Witnessing the struggle, Alicia Masters fires off the "4" signal flare, summoning the one remaining member of the FF, the Human Torch.  Alicia is then caught.

• The captured members of the Fantastic Four (and Alicia) are sent floating into space.

• Johnny Storm kidnaps the Wizard and forces the villain to rescue the floating members of the team.

• Both teams meet again on the ground for a rematch.  This time, the Fantastic Four prevails but their Frightful counterparts still manage to escape.

The issue in EXTREME detail:

This issue was originally covered in Super Reads 120 with a focus on the first appearance of Medusa.  This time, we're looking at Avengers/X-Men encounters.  This is a tiny but significant meeting between the two teams... but first...

Somebody's getting married!  Not TODAY but in the FUTURE!  Reed Richards and Sue Storm got engaged at the end of the previous issue and this is their chance to announce it to the world!  The Baxter Building is filled with reporters and cameramen as the happy couple pose for the occasion.  Ah, celebrity romance...

There are some minor shenanigans when a gift arrives for the couple from the Yancy Street Gang.  It's ticking.  The newsmen take off as it explodes in the Thing's hands.  The explosion reveals flowers so no harm done.  Reed and Sue start making out after Ben and Johnny leave.

Elsewhere in the fine metropolis of New York City, the villains of this piece are meeting.  Here is Paste-Pot Pete, the bad guy with the super-glue gun.  Meeting him is the Sandman, the man composed of living sand.  Our final attendee is the Wingless Wizard, a super-scientist who flies using anti-gravity devices.  All three of these guys have faced  off against the Human Torch in Johnny's Strange Tales solo adventures but now they're teaming up to face the whole Fantastic Four.

There's some housekeeping flashbacks that explain how these three initially met and showing how the Wizard was saved from his fate of floating out of Earth's atmosphere.  Basically, Sandman and Paste-Pot Pete escaped prison together and then flew a jet up to rescue the villainous super-scientist.  The three make make plans to take down the Fantastic Four but the Wizard believes they need one more member to make the numbers even.  While the other two lay low, Wiz takes a trip to the Mediterranean.

We slip out of flashback mode long enough for the Wizard to tell the others that he's found their fourth member, but then head right back into a flashback to describe Madam Medusa.  While Medusa is an Inhuman, that fact isn't given during this flashback.  Later on, we learn that she is suffering amnesia after being mind-blasted by Blackbolt's brother, Maximus.  This caused her to seek refuge on a Mediterranean island where she would attack any authority figures who approached her.  She did this using her prehensile hair.  When the Wizard approached Medusa, the Inhuman recognized him and agreed to join his foursome.

Out of the flashback, our trio of villains head to their hideout to meet the fourth member of their Frightful Four.

Back at the Baxter Building, wedding plans continue.  Engagement gifts arrive, Sue is inundated by wedding planners and paparazi, and Johnny is using chemicals to color his flames for a fireworks display.  Typical FF stuff.

Sandman and Paste-Pot Pete watch the Torch light up the sky and think about the moment they'll get their sweet, sweet revenge.  Mwahahahaha.  Above their heads soars the Wingless Wizard in his new super-villain costume, complete with ridiculously oversized head gear.  Awesome.  The three walk inside their hideout to greet Madam Medusa who is also sporting a brand new costume.  The Frightful Four is ready to strike!

But first... it's engagement party time!

I love this panel so much now.

Having no real-life friends that aren't already on the team, Reed and Sue use the engagement party as an opportunity to get the super-hero community together for the first time.  That means the X-Men and the Avengers are in the same room even though they aren't interacting.  Maybe there's still some animosity from their fight in X-Men #9.

Curious in this assmbly is Professor Xavier.  His involvement with the X-Men is not public knowledge and the X-Men pretend not to know him... badly.  Alicia explains that Charles is a genius on Reed Richards' level but that still doesn't adequately explain what he's doing in this room.  Besides the real world reason that Jack Kirby just drew the whole X-Men roster without input, I'm betting this could be a nice tip of the hat on Reed's part.  Sort of a "I know what you do" kind of thing.

With a telepathic summons, Xavier orders the X-Men away from the party.  The team agrees to excort the Professor downstairs to a taxi cab which probably doesn't allay suspicions that they all work together.  And that's one more Avengers/ X-Men meeting out of the way.

While no one's looking, Spider-Man (uninvited) swings by and steals a slice of cake.

As the super-heroes depart, the Frightful Four land their airship on the roof.  Their first victim is Ben Grimm, who took a nap after all that engagement party excitement.  He goes down without a struggle.

Sue hears the commotion and enters the room to find out what's going on.  She walks right into a trap.  Reed runs in to join the fight.  THe two put up a nice defense but are overwhelmed by the Frightful Four, particularly Madam Medusa, for whom the FF have no knowledge.

Before the now unconscious members of the Fantastic Four can all be carted away, Alicia Masters sneaks in, takes Sue's flare gun, and fires it into the air.

This creates a giant flaming "4" in the sky, summoning the final member of the Fantastic Four, Johnny Storm.  The Torch had left the Baxter Building after the engagement party to check out his car in the shop.  When he sees the "4" flare, Johnny flames on and flies home.

Alicia's actions have consequences.  Medusa finds the blind artist and Alicia is captured.  Along with the unconscious members of the Fantastic Four, Alicia has an anti-gravity device stuck to her and is sent floating away into the sky.  Destination: outer space.

This is more like the best prank ever than a super-villain's master plan.

As his friends and family float off into the wild blue yonder, Johnny Storm reaches the Baxter Building.  He grabs the Wizrd and flies inside the Frightful Four's ship.  Johnny forces the villain to fly the airship up to rescue the rest of the Fantastic Four.

The team wakes up before hitting the outer atmosphere and Reed does his best to protect everyone until they can be pulled into the Wizard's airship.  The rest of the Frighful Four steal the FF's pogo plane and meet the Fantastic Four in the sky.  While the villains can't force the Wizard's ship to the ground, SUE can grab the pogo plane in an invisible force field and force IT down.

Once everyone's on the ground, the teams square off one more time, but the Frightful Four's advantage is gone.  Before the bad guys can be caught, the Wizard escapes and sets off an explosion that destroys his own ship and knocks out the heroes, allowing the Frightful Four a chance to escape.  When the heroes regain consciousness, they find the evil FF long gone, but their trusty pogo plane waiting to fly them home.

A rematch will have to wait for another day.

OK, that's four books.  I think I'm good for now.  I'll see you very soon.

Have a good week!

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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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