A week like this is why I have no social life. Look at that list. It's a lot of comics; I don't have a lot of time, but I made it awesome anyway. Enjoy!
If you are new to the Super Reads brand experience, here's how this works: I read every Marvel Event comic book (in this case, Avengers vs. X-Men) and then I write a far too detailed, spoiler laden report on what happened within each comic. I give you a nutshell, flesh it out a little bit more with some bullet points, and then just dive right in with a far too detailed look at how everyone in comics is a moron. It is what you've always wanted in an internet article but were afraid to ask.
So I read the comics and then I write about them. It's something simple and easy that I attempt to make way too complicated.
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.
We'll get to the comics in one moment. First, we need to talk about a couple of things.
Did things just go horribly wrong? Of COURSE they did. At the end of our last amazing issue of Avengers vs. X-Men, the Phoenix Force was split into five equal bits of infinite power. These pieces all found their own hosts in the X-Men. I call the Phoenix charged mutants the PhoeniX-Men. The comics call them the Phoenix Five. One of these sounds like a boy band.
Now, we all know the old adage. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. While one can debate the truthiness of this, you CAN'T when you are reading a comic book. Absolute power TOTALLY corrupts absolutely in a comic. It's the only way you can do it. You can't have five characters with infinite power and then have everything work out. What kind of story is that?
So far, the PhoeniX-Men have done what you'd expect them to do. Given the power to do anything, they took a page out of the Squadron Supreme Maxi-Series and decided to make the world a better place. War has been outlawed. People are being fed. Minds are being changed (sometimes by telepathy). As far as altruistic first steps go, the X-Men are PRETTY much doing the right thing even though I think telepathically altering people's minds is still a no-no.
It's still only a matter of time.
So if the X-Men have officially become the bad guys of this story, where does that leave the Avengers? Well, I still wouldn't qualify them as the good guys but it looks like they're the closest we're gonna get. Let's pretend they're TOTALLY INNOCENT in everything leading up to this situation. Like, Cap's plans for Hope Summers and Iron Man's failed Phoenix Disruptor Beam that split the Phoenix Force didn't happen. And maybe Cap didn't go to Utopia in the most passive aggressive way possible.
I'm sorry, I'm going to have to pretend a little harder.
OK, so what are Earth's Mightiest Heroes going to do when some mutants they were just fighting ten seconds ago get omnipotence and start making the world a better place against the world's will? It look like they're going to take their own look at that Squadron Supreme maxi-series and break up the party. In a nutshell, their stance is going to be that the world can't just be HANDED Utopia. The world has to EARN it, otherwise we're doomed to go right back to our own wreck of a planet.
So enjoy the peace while it lasts. The Avengers are coming to make sure you've paid for it. :P
Avengers vs. X-Men #6
Writers: Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, & Jonathan Hickman
Script: Jonathan Hickman
Penciler: Olivier Coipel
Inker: Mark Morales
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Click HERE to see Super Read Avengers vs. X-Men #5!
The issue in a nutshell:
The Phoenix Five start making the world a better place for you and me. The Avengers take issue with that and try to take Hope Summers off of Utopia which is made successful with the timely arrival of the Scarlet Witch. Cyclops says "No more Avengers" but since he doesn't have magic chaos powers it doesn't mean the Avengers just disappear.
This issue by bullet points:
• Professor Charles Xavier has a meeting with Cyclops and learns that either he wasn't a very good teacher or that the Phoenix is twisting his lessons to suit its own agenda.
• The PhoeniX-Men provide the world with all the food, water, and energy it needs.
• Captain America bristles when Iron Fist tells him about an encounter with the Electric Legion and how an Avengers squad was saved by Colossus.
• While discussing how to stop the Phoenix Five, Beast decides this isn't what he signed up for and quits the Avengers, heading off for parts unknown.
• Cyclops refuses to give his Phoenix powers to Hope.
• The Phoenix Five outlaw war and the tools to make war.
• Lei Kung gets a retelling of Iron Fist Fongji and how she faced the Phoenix Force a couple hundred years ago.
• The PhoeniX-Men give the United Nations an ultimatum, declaring Pax Utopia and demanding that no nation devote any energy towards weapon development.
• The Scarlet Witch has a vision of the original Avengers burning up in Phoenix flames.
• The Avengers, minus the Black Panther who opts out, make their move to infiltrate Utopia and extract Hope Summers. After getting Hope, they find themselves facing Cyclops and Emma Frost.
• The Scarlet Witch shows up, speaking on behalf of Hope. After showing that she's about the only one who can even hurt the Phoenix powered X-Men, Wanda teleports away with the Avengers and the Mutant Messiah.
• Scott Summers rants a bit and then decides it's time to get rid of the world's Avengers population.
This issue in EXTREME detail:
Welcome to the New World Order. We are introduced to our new surroundings by the father of the X-Men, Professor Charles Xavier.
Professor X has been MIA lately for a variety of reasons but the biggest is that he just doesn't fit into the current Schism X-World. Now, it's time for him to reappear and talk to his First X-Man, Cyclops. When he arrives at Utopia, we notice that it's a whole different place, now. Utopia appears to be flying in the skies and very white. The place looks a lot more like Heaven than usual.
No one's playing any harps, though.
Greeting Xavier is one of his oldest frenemies, Magneto. While Charles is quite unsure about the actions of his former students, Magnus is a true believer. He leads Professor X right up to a personal meeting with Scott Summers.
Xavier tries to express his concerns to Cyclops but all he gets are his former lessons tossed back at him in a new twisted form. The PhoeniX-Men are changing the world and expect that most of the world will be cool with it. We also learn that Scott no longer needs his ruby quartz glasses or that new funky visor he's wearing but old habits die hard.
He's wearing it to remind him of his singular focus on his goal of changing to world.
The world is being changed, courtesy of a montage of images showing the Phoenix Five all around the world, feeding the population, making sure they have fresh drinking water, and all the free energy they'd ever need.
So that's the good news. The bad news is the freedom isn't free. Or something. Xavier doesn't believe the world has earned this and seems pretty upset that the X-Men is giving the world a gift when it's not the world's birthday. It's not even Christmas. Cyclops believes that the X-Men have already paid the cost for this. Sure, some sections of the old order will fight against all this change. They will lose. The world will get better.
During this exchange, we get a good look at part of Utopia and learn that this floating Heaven is actually a golf course where the mutants can get in a good game. Gambit, Psylocke, Gob Herman, Cannonball, Sunspot, Primal, and Velocidad are out enjoying the grounds. It looks like only Betsy is golfing but is still looks like a giant floating golf course.
And what of the Avengers? They have found that it's that much harder to do their job because the Phoenix Five keep on coming in and saving the day. Iron Fist calls into Captain America at Avengers Tower and tells the Sentinel of Liberty that "It's happened again." Danny goes on to explain that he, Luke Cage, and Spider-Woman were in the midst of seriously losing a battle against a nest of Zzzax (electrical monsters called the Electric Legion) when Colossus showed up and talked the Electric Legion down. They even agreed to be used as energy sources for the world. Iron Fist can't even tell Steve any details from Piotr's conversation because it was electric communication.
When Rogers hangs up on Danny Rand, you can tell he's both relieved that "everything worked out" but also wondering when the other shoe is going to drop. I think it also sticks right in his craw that the X-Men keep upstaging the Avengers.
In another room of Avengers Tower, Iron Man, Wolverine, Black Panther, and the Beast are trying to figure out a way to stop the Phoenix Five. Cap joins them and gives a quick retelling of Iron Fist's latest Phoenix encounter before asking what his team has come up with to put the kibosh on all of this world changing.
We learn pretty quickly that not everyone in this room is committed to defeating the PhoeniX-Men. Black Panther has some serious doubts. So does Hank McCoy. The Beast may have his differences with Scott Summers but he thinks the Phoenix Five have made some majorly positive changes to the world and, more importantly, he's not all the keen on finding a way to potentially kill some of his oldest friends.
With some parting words, the Beast leaves. He's not going to join the X-Men. In fact, he doesn't think he has anywhere to go.
Hope Summers was supposed to be the host of the Phoenix but rejected its offer of power last issue. This is the reason that she was the only X-Man present to NOT be endowed by the power of the cosmic firebird. The Phoenix Five took her back to Utopia so that she could recover and then take the full force of the Phoenix.
In this issue, we find that Hope wants to run away from Utopia and the Phoenix. Cyclops even tells her that she can leave if she wants. The reason she stays is that the Phoenix Force calls to her with such ferocity that she can't bring herself to take off.
Hope is all better now and you'd think that now would be a great time to bestow on her the full power of the Phoenix Force. She even admits that she's ready to take it. Cyclops tells her no. She didn't want it before so she can't have it now. Besides, he and the rest of the PhoeniX-Men are doing a better job reshaping the world than Hope could have done. So, nyah.
The Phoenix is a tempting source of unlimited power. Hope tells Scott that she can still hear the firebird cry out. It wants a whole lot more burning. Probably with death. And rebirth. Scott Summers tells his grand-daughter that his team is just getting started.
Is it time for another montage? Cue the eighties motivational rock music. The Phoenix Five declare an end to all war and that means getting rid of the weapons and vehicles of war. Magik dismantles a bunch of jeeps and tanks. Emma Frost demolishes some Sentinels. Colossus takes away the missiles and warheads of the world. Namor removes battleships from his oceans.
Time passes. In K'un Lun, Lei Kung the Thunderer seeks out the Book of the Fallen. This means dealing with a crazy old man who knew him when he was a kid. That's saying something since Lei Kung is pretty much immortal and has been around for a LONG time. The old man appears to be blind, and wears a bandage over his eyes with one eye printed in its center. Later on we see that he's got at least one eye growing in the palm of his hand. So that probably makes it difficult for him to hold stuff.
Eyeball-in-his-Palm talks about how the Phoenix showed up a few centuries ago only to be stopped by a previous Iron Fist, Fongji. That story is playing out over in The New Avengers and we'll get to is soon. When he's done reading her brief list of accomplishments, the old dude advises Lei Kung to get the Iron Fist.
Three days after this, Iron Man, Captain America, and the Black Panther (out of his traditional uniform and fresh from a meeting at the United Nations) meet up with President Barrack Obama, Marvel's best new character of 2009. The Avengers are telling the POTUS all about the PhoeniX-Men's visit to the UN. It was here the Cyclops declared to the assembled nations Pax Utopia. No more war. He told the countries of the world that they were to dedicate their efforts to improving mankind but weapons of war or no longer allowed.
Since T'challa is the only one here who was AT this meeting, he's the one telling the story and protesting when Iron Man tries to interpret things in more harsh terms. Of course, the Phoenix Five's ultimatum steps on every nation's sovereignty so it's not like Scott Summers showed up to spread peace and sunshine. He told every country that they can no longer defend themselves because the X-Men will keep them safe.
And the benefits of this are impressive. Africa is peaceful. No warlords are running around making up an army of child soldiers. Refugees are returning home to peaceful lands. King T'challa seems convinced that all of this is a good thing. The President of the United States acknowledges the good that has been done but also sees the problems involved. Issues of sovereignty aside, who watches the watchmen and all that jazz? This is a situation that SHOULD make the world uneasy even if no child is going hungry.
Let's head somewhere else to watch as the original Avengers team in their original costumes are burned up by the Phoenix. This vision has been brought to you by Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch. It is a vision of the future!
Back to the plot, the Avengers start off on a mission to extract Hope Summers from Utopia. Tony Stark wants to study her because she's the original intended Phoenix Host so she probably holds the key to bringing down the whole Phoenix Five. Presumably. Anyway, it's better than sitting on their hands waiting for things to go bad.
Before going into mission details, let's talk about who won't be going on this adventure. The Black Panther. As the King of Wakanda, he can't associate with this kind of thing. He can kinda sorta understand it but he doesn't approve of it.
OK, mission details: the Avengers are HALO jumping from a converted 767. To offer some slight protection against the PhoeniX-Men, Tony has created some more ugly gear using information extracted from, I'm guessing, the Phoenix-Cage. They still won't be able to stand up to the Phoenix Five but at least they won't go down in ten seconds.
And away they go.
Everything starts out all right. The Avengers find Hope quickly and Thor beats up Velocidad when the mutant tries to defend the Mutant Messiah. Scott Summers and Emma Frost are relaxing, enjoying some downtime in between reshaping the world, when they discover the Avengers' infiltration. Instead of calling the whole Phoenix Five, Cyclops and Emma deal with this by themselves.
The battle is on. Cyclops sends Cap and Hawkeye stumbling back with his new, improved optic blasts. When Emma attempts her own Phoenix blast, it is blocked by some mystic mumbo jumbo barrier that somehow protects Iron Fist. Don't worry. He's as confused as everyone else. Don't worry, it might be explained, given time. He's still blasted down by Cyke's optic blast.
Scott disarms Iron Man. Thor tries playing the god card but gets trumped by Cyclops' Phoenix powers.
And then the Scarlet Witch shows up.
Instead of straight up fighting, Wanda just requests that she get to leave with the Avengers and Hope. The Mutant Messiah even tells Cyclops that she wants to go. At this point, Scott takes back his offer on letting Hope go if she wanted. Cyke reaches out to stop the Scarlet Witch but recoils when he grabs Wanda's arm.
With a few parting words, the Scarlet Witch teleports away with the Avengers and Hope.
When they're gone, Scott Summers goes into a mad tirade about how the Avengers have helped the world be bold enough to continually attack the world's mutant population. The answer is obvious. It's time to make the world Avenger-less.
Avengers vs. X-Men: Infinite #6
Co-plot & Script: Mark Waid
Co-plot & Storyboards: Yves Bigerel
Artist: Carlo Barberi
Editor: Nick Lowe
Click HERE to see Super Read Avengers vs. X-Men: Infinite #1!
The issue in a nutshell:
Troubled by the fact that nothing is troubling him, Cyclops heads on up to the Moon to think. He ends up resurrecting Jean Grey and chatting about how the Phoenix can disconnect you from reality. Then he realizes he's talking to a dead girl made up of Moon dust and flies home.
This issue by bullet points:
• Floating over Utopia, Scott Summers wonders why he can't figure out what's bothering him. His moment of thought is soon filled with the telepathic thoughts of others.
• He heads to the Moon to think. As he thinks about Jean Grey, he finds himself at the Blue Area of the Moon and then right at the place where the Phoenix killed itself during the Dark Phoenix Saga.
• Cyclops finds that he isn't feeling any emotion when remembering this moment in his life and summons up Jean Grey to talk to. She's made out of Moon dust.
• Jean Grey tells him that the Phoenix amplifies his personality, making him more repressed and more ordered than ever before. Or something.
• He's losing perspective. Just as a for instance, Jean tells him that he's talking to a dead woman made out of Moon dust.
• Disassembling his Moon-made Jean Grey, Cyclops returns to Earth, believing all his problems to be over just so long as he keeps himself in control.
This issue in EXTREME detail:
It looks like the second act of Marvel's world shattering mega-event brings with it a brand new Infinite comic. This time, we get an inside look at the man who is leading the mutant race and see how he's coping with his new Phoenix abilities. Don't worry. There will be no talking about Snickers bars or dubstep this time. It's Scott Summers time.
We're right in the midst of Pax Utopia. This comic doesn't line itself up to fit into the events of AvX like the first Infinite comic did though that means it also doesn't contradict stuff from the main book. This story happens all off-panel from the regular story.
Cyclops has been a busy little world changer and floats above Utopia in-between tasks to sort out his thoughts. First things first, the new Phoenix empowered Scott Summers has a massive ego. In his own thoughts, he describes himself at the "ultimate leader" and goes on to call himself "Cyclops the First." He's pretty much declared himself king which isn't something he would normally do. I think even those who think he's gone completely over the the Magneto side would agree that Scott wasn't trying to rule the world. That appears to have changed.
None of this concerns him. In fact, Summers doesn't know WHAT concerns him. He just knows that there's something that SHOULD be worrying him and is trying his damndest to figure out what it is. Hence all the floating.
What he quickly learns is that it's hard to get a moment to yourself when you've suddenly gained telepathy. His quiet moment above Utopia is FILLED to the BRIM with the random thoughts of everyone below him. He simply can't get his own thoughts in order with all of these other thoughts invading his brain.
When you're looking for a place to think and your mind is filled with the thoughts of those nearby, there's no place like the moon to clear yourself of background noise. No people, see? Scott walks over the lunar surface, still trying to shape out his thoughts and figure out what should be troubling him. That telepathic incident gets him thinking about his first love, Jean Grey, and how she had to deal with telepathy all the time.
One of the other surprises he's gotten from his Phoenix powers is that it makes his memories that much clearer. For example, "Jean's" death through heroic sacrifice on the Moon. That moment is right up front and center in his mind like it happened just moments ago.
You see how I avoided talking about how the original Phoenix wasn't Jean Grey at all but was the Phoenix Force itself doing it's best Jean impersonation while the REAL Jean Grey rested in a pod at the bottom of the Hudson River healing? I think it's a sign that I'm growing as a person.
Before he realizes it, Cyclops has walked right up to the edge of the Blue Area of the Moon. The place where the Phoenix died. In the middle of reliving that death, he finds himself standing before the ancient weapon that killed her. He wonders if his subconscious is trying to tell him something.
Well, there's a way to find out. From the ashes on the lunar surface, Scott Summers puts Jean Grey back together. This is the weirdest resurrection I've witnessed and it makes you wonder if it's the Phoenix's memories given form or if it's Scott's memories of Jean... or maybe he's just talking to himself. U-Decide.
Whatever the case, the Moon Jean commends Scott on holding it together "so far." That last part gets Cyclops attention as well. Jean explains that the Phoenix most likely enhances what's already inside of you. In her case, it blew her emotions to explosive proportions until she could no longer contain them. In Scott's case, his repression and sense of order are expanding at an incredible rate. As she explains, "it's not about losing control. It's about losing PERSPECTIVE."
It's why his subconscious brought him here. His Phoenix powers bring his past right back to bite him but he's standing right on the spot where his first love died... and he feels nothing. He can't connect to one of his most traumatic memories.
Cyclops wonders if all of this power has cut him off from his humanity. Moon-Jean tells him that OF COURSE IT HAS. He's up on the moon talking to a dead girl he brought back to life using moon dust.
Realization hitting, Cyclops dismantles his confidant. Believing he's made a turning point in his own personal journey with the Phoenix, Scott Summers flies back down to Earth with a handful of Moon dust to remind him to stay vigilant.
Anyone else think that'll work out for him? Anyone?
Secret Avengers #28
Writer: Rick Remender
Penciler: Renato Guedes
Inkers: Matthew Wilson with Jeremy Mohler
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Click HERE to see Super Read Secret Avengers #27!
The issue in a nutshell:
Captain Marvel, the Protector, and Ms. Marvel are broken out of their trance. Everyone tries to stop the Phoenix Force from burning up the Kree Throneworld of Hala but it takes Captain Marvel sacrificing his little portion of the Phoenix that makes it all possible. It also ends his life and gets Ms. Marvel to think about changing her super-hero moniker to "Captain Marvel."
The issue by bullet points:
• Vision counteracts the subliminal telepathy that is keeping Captain Marvel, the Protector, and Ms. Marvel from making good decisions.
• They fly over and save Captain Britain, Valkyrie, and War Machine from execution with the Vision freeing more Kree from mind control.
• The Space Avengers confront Minister Marvel just in time to watch him kill himself (after he's already killed his telepath son).
• Ms. Marvel turns into Binary in an attempt to stop the Phoenix Force. This ends in failure.
• Captain Britain holds the Phoenix at bay while Captain Marvel says his good-byes to Carol Danvers.
• Mar-Vell sacrifices himself, giving up the portion of the Phoenix Force that is keeping him alive. After receiving it's missing power, the Phoenix turns around and heads back towards Earth.
• The Kree help the Avengers rebuild their Quinshuttle for another try at capturing the Phoenix inside the Phoenix-Cage.
• Ms. Marvel begins to think about using Captain Marvel's name.
The issue in EXTREME detail:
We're stepping back a bit in AvX time. The Phoenix hasn't reached Earth yet. It's actually on its way to burn up Hala, the throne planet of the Kree. The Protector hasn't betrayed the Avengers yet. Well, he HAS betrayed them but this time it's because of mind control and he's joined in that act of betrayal by the usually loyal Avenger, Ms. Marvel. The late Captain Marvel is also among the living, having been brought back to life a couple issues ago by a small portion of the Phoenix's powers.
So the Phoenix is about to destroy the lead planet in the Kree Empire and because of a little subliminal mind control, the Kree people are welcoming their own destruction and the Space Avengers are almost powerless to stop it. Let's see where this leads.
At this very moment in our story, hope is at its lowest ebb. Thor, Beast, and the Vision have been captured by Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, and the Protector. Previously captured Space Avengers, Captain Britain, Valkyrie, and War Machine are on the verge of being executed. The Phoenix fills up the sky.
It's about time to bring a little of that hope back. The Vision wakes from his power nap and uses his technological prowess to break through the subliminal telepathy that holds Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, and the Protector in its clutches. Now that they're free, they see the truth before their eyes. Hala is pretty close to doomed.
Our heroes race on over to the spot where the rest of the team is about to be executed. Vision's little trick does its job and it looks like the Accuser has a change of heart. The crowd is also released from its trance. The Accuser directs them towards the mastermind behind Hala's intended death (and rebirth).
We've met him before, but the dude has never gotten a name. Now, we learn that the bad guy in this epic is called Minister Marvel. He's the cousin of Captain Marvel and thought siccing the Phoenix Force on Hala would be a grand way to restore the Mar-Vell name. Helping him in this endeavor is his son, the telepath known as Marvel Mind. As my good friend Ratchet tells me, "all the good names are taken."
While the two evil Marvels enjoy a feast of what is certainly alien turkey, Minister Marvel tells his son how he raised himself up after Captain Marvel's disgrace, established himself in Kree society, and now how he'll restore their name through the rebirth of the Kree throneworld at the hands of the Phoenix Force.
You know who won't be sharing in this brave new world? His son. Marvel Mind has done his job in keeping the Kree people from leaving the planet. Now, he pays for his loyalty with his life. Minister Marvel isn't sharing any of this fame. He's not even planning on giving Marvel Mind a footnote.
The Space Avengers arrive just in time to watch Minister Marvel blow his own brains out. He's hoping Captain Marvel will tell the rest of the Kree who burned them all alive.
Well, that fight isn't going to fill the rest of the issue so it looks like the Avengers are going to have to shoo the Phoenix Force away from Hala, instead. They talk through their options but Beast can only think of one thing to do. It involves Ms. Marvel and it's full of risks.
In orbit, the Kree fleet is trying to hold the Phoenix at bay but that's proving to be impossible. Ground Control orders them back to Hala, clearing the skies for the Avengers.
Carol Danvers connects with a local white hole, drawing on this power to become Binary. This super-charged version of herself flies into battle with the Phoenix Force. It's a great idea but it doesn't work. Much like the Phoenix rejected Hope (or whatever happened in AvX #5-- Fraction was writing it so it was more confusing that the rest of the AvX books), Binary rejects Carol. When her powers fade, Ms. Marvel doesn't stand a chance against the Phoenix Force. Luckily, Captain Marvel is there to catch her and he knows WHY the Phoenix won't stop.
Before he can explain this to anyone, Captain Britain leaps into the battle.
Since Brian Braddock's powers are belief-based, it's a clear sign of his determination the fact that he is able to hold his own fighting the Phoenix Force. Sure, he's not going to WIN this battle but it's nice to see the good Captain being competent.
Brian's fight opens up time for Captain Marvel to say good bye to Carol. She knows what he's planning, but maybe I should clue you all in. Captain Marvel was resurrected using a portion of the Phoenix Force's powers. He intends on releasing that power and return it to the Phoenix Force. It will kill him. Instantly. Like he keeps saying "I didn't miss life."
Since Braddock is unwilling to step aside, Mar-Vell ends up tossing Captain Britain away from this battle so that he can do his thing. The cosmic firebird surrounds him and takes back that little bit of itself that brought Mar-Vell back to life. That done, the Phoenix turns around and heads back on its path towards Earth.
Captain Mar-Vell's dead body is left to plummet alone through space. No one retrieves it.
That's probably because the Space Avengers are busy repairing their Quinshuttle with a little help from the Kree people. Some team members need to get some recovery in before their next appearance in Avengers #26 (Thor being one of the most important). Brian Braddock and Hank McCoy make up. The Protector doesn't seem to fully recover from his mind control... this possibly indicates his future betrayal in Avengers #26. Overall, the Avengers are more motivated and inspired than they were in previous issues.
So maybe when Beast was smashing the Quinshuttle in Avengers #26, it was out of joy instead of anger?
Whatever. Ms. Marvel reports all of this back to Tony Stark on Earth, ending the report with more inspirational talk of the dead man who saved them one more time. Captain Marvel. It's a hard legacy to live up to but maybe the name deserves to be used again.
And that's how Ms. Marvel got the idea to go by Captain Marvel and star in her brand new solo series, beginning in July!
The New Avengers #27
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mike Deodato
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Click HERE to see Super Read The New Avengers #26!
The issue in a nutshell:
Cyclops brings peace to Africa by destroying most of its guns. Frenzy is sent in to keep the peace until the Stepford Cuckoos can arrive and do some mind wiping. While waiting, Frenzy kicks a little ass and is reminded of her terrible childhood.
The issue by bullet points:
• Iron Fist, Fongji, becomes the Phoenix in the past. She takes to the stars. Earth is saved forever.
• In the present, the current Iron Fist, Danny Rand, tells the story of Fongji to Hope Summers. Hope is in the mystic city of K'un Lun to train and hopefully master the Phoenix.
• The Mutant Messiah meets with the current Master Yu Ti and together they try to determine what she's supposed to do. This leads them to meditation at the Scrying Vessel of Bo-Ling.
• Meditation is hard.
• The Scrying Vessel reveals that Hope is to be trained. By the SPIDER.
• Spider-Man is told to train Hope and after FAR too much yammering and hemming and hawing, he tells her the lesson that has guided his life and was said WAY too many times in nineties Spider-Man books: With Great Power Must Come Great Responsibility.
The issue in EXTREME detail:
We start our story a couple centuries in the past so that we can finish up the story that's been told over the past two issues. This story involves the Immortal City of K'un Lun, Leonardo da Vinci, a red haired female Iron Fist, the Phoenix Force, and a prophesy delivered to K'un Lun's ruler, Master Yu Ti.
The red haired female Iron Fist is Fongji. She rarely speaks and has a willful nature. She was trained to become the Iron Fist because Yu Ti had a dream where a red-haired female Iron Fist confronted the Phoenix Force and saved the world. Since red hair isn't a typical trait held by citizens of K'un Lun, FINDING Fongji was part of the struggle.
Leonard da Vinci got involved by request from Master Yu Ti. While his contribution to the story is negligible, he does use his super-science to build a device that detected the Phoenix Force's approach. Now, it's time for Fongji to fulfill her destiny and save the Earth.
The problem is, she doesn't know how to do that. The other problem is that Yu Ti actually had TWO prophesies. One has Fongji confront the Phoenix, become its host and not destroy everything she sees and the other... well the other is the bad one. As Yu Ti puts it, "there are always two paths."
Master Yu Ti tells her to focus. Leonardo agrees with this strategy. So Fongji focuses.
When all the smoke and light clears, Fongji has become the host of the Phoenix. The world is not burned to a crisp. Everything turns out ok. She tells Master Yu Ti and Leonardo da Vinci that there is life all over the universe and she is going to go out and see it. The world is not yet ready for the Phoenix.
That was then. This is now. We are in what passes for the present, still in the city of K'un Lun. Hope Summers, the girl who should have hosted the Phoenix, has been brought here to train. She is still probably supposed to be the Phoenix's host and even though everyone has trained her for that moment, it's still not enough training. Current Iron Fist, Danny Rand, tells her all he knows about Fongji and all it does is lead her to more questions.
Is she supposed to be an Iron Fist? Is she even supposed to be the Phoenix Host? Why isn't she fighting on Earth right now? She blurts one question after another out but Danny doesn't have a lot of answers for her. You see, they haven't figured out what her training curriculum is even going to be yet.
To guide her on her path, the current Master Yu Ti greets the Mutant Messiah and is upset that this red head does so much more talking than Fongji did. Not that THIS Master Yu Ti ever met Fongji. He just knows that the red headed Iron Fist didn't do a lot of talking.
It's time to figure out what Hope is supposed to be doing and that means a trip to the Scrying Vessel of Bo-Ling. This pool has been seen in the last two issues and it shows glimpses of the future. VAGUE glimpses. The trick behind the pool is that the user needs to empty their brain of thought and wait. Neither of those things comes easily to Hope so it takes more than one try for the Scrying Vessel to work its magic.
When it DOES, the vessel shows images of space, the Phoenix, and a spider. For Hope, it shows her that she is going to become the Phoenix. To Yu Ti, it has just revealed Hope's next teacher.
So the Spectacular one is summoned to K'un Lun to train Hope Summers. The problem is no one knows exactly what Peter Parker is supposed to DO. Especially not Spider-Man.
Iron Fist and Yu Ti leave Hope and Spidey alone so they can train but for a good page, it's just Spider-Man stalling for time and Hope raging against her fate and wondering what this moron in a webbed suit can teach her than no one else in her life has.
I mean, we all know what Spider-Man is eventually going to say. It's his manifesto. His creed. It was in EVERY issue of Amazing Spider-Man in the nineties just in case we forgot it. It's also pretty damn appropriate considering the situation.
With Great Power, There Must Come Great Responsibility.
We're dealing with the Phoenix. That whole story is "Power Corrupts. Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely." What better response to that is there than the Spider-Man motto?
So Peter Parker tells Hope Summers an abridged version of his origin, leaving out names and dates or anything else that might give his secret identity away. The point is, his uncle had been drilling that saying into his head a long time before he got his spider-powers. It just never sunk in until Uncle Ben died and the murderer just happened to be some crook that Peter could have stopped if he hadn't been so full of himself at the time. It was a lesson learned in blood and one that Spider-Man will never forget.
It's his way of life.
After hearing this story, Hope's attitude towards Spider-Man completely changes. She starts following him around and asking for more nuggets of information. She also wonders if maybe she should be the brand new Spider-Girl... or at least dress like one.
Uncanny X-Men #14
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Dustin Weaver
Editor: Nick Lowe
Click HERE to see Super Read Uncanny X-Men #13!
The issue in a nutshell:
A revolutionary Sinister clone tries to change the mind of Mr. Sinister in Sinister London. This fails when it's revealed that he has in fact kidnapped one of Mister Sinister's duplicates. Sinister explains his plans to steal the Phoenix power away from the Phoenix Five (or at least Cyclops) and use the energies to power his Sinister Civilization.
The issue by bullet points:
• The Sinister Revolutionary rages against the machine by interviewing the ruler of Sinister London: Mister Sinister!
• The Revolutionary kidnaps Mister Sinister and tries to change Sinister's mind.
• Except he finds out that he hasn't ACTUALLY captured Mister Sinister and has in fact kidnapped Sinister's stunt double.
• The real Sinister shows up and takes charge, explaining that even revolution is part of his perfect system. The Revolutionary is taken to the edge of the city and hunted down by a pack of Creeds.
• Mr. Sinister and his body double talk about how the Phoenix Five will eventually get it in their heads to assault his society and face down his many challenges. Eventually, Sinister plans on taking the Phoenix power away from the X-Men to help power up his city.
The issue in EXTREME detail:
OK... long story short, Mister Sinister has a city hidden well below the Earth's surface. It's modeled after nineteenth century London and populated by a bunch of dudes that look exactly like Mister Sinister. That's because they're all clones. To make matters even more fun, Mister Sinister is able to transfer his consciousness to a new body if his current one is killed or in serious danger.
Wow, that was a lot easier to explain than I thought it was going to be. Sinister London is built inside caves previously occupied by Moloids and we'll see one of the creatures digging its way back into its former home.
Now, let's meet our protagonist. This is the Revolutionary. That's not his actual name. He doesn't get a name for this story, and that might have something to do with him not surviving it. I'm calling him the Revolutionary because that's what he is. He's a guy who lives inside a society that is calculated to perfection using complex mathmatics and he doesn't believe that it's possible. To prove that this Sinister London isn't perfect and can be unpredictable, he plans on kidnapping Mister Sinister and changing the ruler's mind.
The Revolutionary uses his position as a reporter to secure an interview with Mister Sinister. This interview is one of those complex ones where the Revolutionary follows Sinister around for a day, asking questions and seeing the sights. It begins in a pasture where cows are grazing. Mister Sinister explains that milk does the body good so here are the cattle that produce the substance.
This is also the point where we learn that Sinister London is a sausage fest. Sinister's perfect society is all male. When you are a clone manufactured by Creation Engines, procreation is no longer a concern. So no ladies. In the event that procreation becomes necessary, half of the clones will turn female to handle this eventuality. When the Creation Engines come back online, they'll turn back to their male forms.
The interview is interrupted by that Moloid I was talking about earlier. It's just dug its way up into the pasture. In a panic, Mister Sinister demands a gun and blows the poor creature into smithereens.
This is the part where Sinister reveals to us that his perfect male society is built in former Moloid caverns. He also relates his last encounter with the Uncanny X-Men in San Francisco and admits that he's hiding down here, biding his time until the X-Men come calling with their new Phoenix powers. When the Revolutionary asks what Sinister's plans are for dealing with the PhoeniX-Men, Sinister attempts to talk about milk again. When the Revolutionary calls him on avoiding the question, Sinister tells the interviewer that he'll come back to it later.
The tour goes on as Mister Sinister leads the Revolutionary around to see where the food is grown, where the army trains, and where the guns are being built. All of this just makes the Revolutionary more angry.
Mister Sinister describes his perfect society like this: "This society is art-- and art requires properly appreciative criticism, history, and hagiography. The system must examine itself to properly APPRECIATE itself."
The two ride onward to Mister Sinister's abode. It's a castle because castles are awesome. Sinister gives the Revolutionary a choice between visiting his menagerie first or his private quarters. The Revolutionaly chooses the private quarters. Once they're in Mister Sinister's bedroom, the Revolutionary asks to take his ruler's picture. When Sinister agrees, the Revolutionary presses a switch on his camera...
...and the two teleport away. When Mister Sinister comes to, he finds himself strapped to a special chair that, I'm guessing, is set up to "change his mind." Before the Revolutionary can flip a few dials and get on with his, he notices something important.
There's pretty much just one thing that really differentiates Mister Sinister from all the other clones. That diamond shape on his forehead has a red jewel embedded in it. Or it might just be a red color. Every other clone has an unfilled diamond.
It looks like THIS Mister Sinister's red diamond just came off. The Revolutionary just captured Sinister's body double. The REAL Mister Sinister isn't too far away, however. In fact, as soon as the the captured clone is revealed as a fake, the real deal opens up the hatch in the Revolutionary's room and walks down into this secret chamber. Two soldiers follow him. The Revolutionary's plans have failed.
Not only that, the Revolutionary's revolution was part of the system that he was raging against. Mister Sinister programmed them in. If the revolution had succeeded, it would have only made the system stronger. Sinister is a scientist so it's all about testing and retesting.
The reward for being a good little cog is to be taken to the edge of the city and hunted down by "hounds." It just so happens that these hounds are all naked clones of Sabretooth called "Creeds." When the pack catches up to the defiant Revolutionary, they tear the clone apart. Back in his castle, Mister Sinister and his body double can taste what the Creeds are eating.
Sinister leads his stunt double through the menagerie where more special clones are revealed. There's a cage full of LeBeaus that have all been trained to speak random French words. Another cage houses a group of Summers with optic visors. The Creeds are still out on the hunt. In this cage, we have the Phalanx. In the background, we see Guthries (Cannonball), Mystiques, and some Marauders
This is all part of Sinister's plan to deal with Cyclops and the Phoenix Five. He helped set Hope upon her path and knew that the Avengers wouldn't allow her to become the next Phoenix Host. Somehow, he knew that the Phoenix Force would be split into five parts and would be housed in five X-Men. I think he even knew WHICH ones. Long story short, Mister Sinister is pulling a fanboy Batman. He knew exactly what was going to happen and it looks like his artists even painted up the Phoenix uniforms of the Phoenix Five before there WAS a Phoenix Five.
So Sinister has prepared himself to deal with the PhoeniX-Men. All of these clones are just distractions for the main event.
A room full of Madelyne Priors. That's destined to throw Scott Summers off his game.
The key word here is "prep time." Sinister has had all he think she needs. Bring it on, Cyclops.
Avengers Academy #32
Writer: Christos Gage
Penciler: Timothy Green II
Inker: Jeff Huet
Editor: Bill Roseman
Click HERE to see Super Read Avengers Academy #31!
The issue in a nutshell:
Emma Frost comes to the Avengers Academy to destroy the world's last Sentinel. Since that Sentinel is the reprogrammed best friend of Academy member, Juston Seyfert, she finds the whole school opposing her, including X-23.
The issue by bullet points:
• X-23 confronts Juston Seyfert about his giant Sentinel best friend.
• Laura relates the story of how she was made to kill her puppy as training to become a world-class killer.
• Hank Pym asks if Laura would rather join the rest of the mutants in Utopia. She wouldn't.
• Emma Frost arrives to destroy Juston's Sentinel. When a compromise can't be reached, the Sentinel begins to fight a hopeless battle against one of the PhoeniX-Men.
• Responding to Juston's cries for help, X-23 remembers her puppy and attacks Emma.
• The rest of the Avengers students join in. Hank Pym leads them into a hopeless battle.
The issue in EXTREME detail:
Let's begin this issue by learning just a little bit about Juston Seyfert and his best friend, a Sentinel. So, um, there's this kid named Juston and his best friend is... um, a Sentinel. That's... that's pretty much it. I thought I'd have more to say about it.
I guess I can tell the uninitiated that most Sentinels are mutant hunter/killers. When they were initially introduced, they were the greatest threat you could ever imagine. A mutant would use their powers on a Sentinel ONCE and the robot would develop countermeasures to prevent future attacks. If one was actually DESTROYED, the rest would still learn from its mistakes. Even the earliest Sentinels were a seen as nigh unstoppable. Writers found in almost impossible to WRITE a Sentinel story because they had to WORK in order to figure out how our heroes could prevail against such a threat.
Eventually, they got lazy and allowed the X-Men to kill Sentinels with minimal effort. The Sentinels are pretty much neutered today but the memory of when they were a force to be reckoned with is still alive.
Juston's Sentinel isn't a mutant killing machine. He's hacked into the Sentinel's code to make sure that the "Kill all Mutants" directive is low on Sentinel's agenda. More important orders countermand the Mutant Killing Code but Seyfert isn't able to remove this line from the Sentinel's computer brain. To do so would erase everything that the Sentinel has learned up to this point.
After last issue's fight, the Sentinel needs repairs. The giant robot is able to self-repair but Juston still likes to help out and make sure the Sentinel has a slick paintjob.
Remember when I mentioned that the whole Sentinel thing is a touchy subject for mutants? Well, X-23 is kind of a mutant (she's actually a female clone of Wolverine) and she takes issue to having a Sentinel running around Avengers Academy. Laura (that's X-23's less code-namey name) tries to convince Juston that his Sentinel is a bad thing to keep around. To prove the point, she asked the Sentinel to list off its many directives. After going through stuff like "Unit will not ABANDON Juston" and "Preserve and protect all life," it ends with "Apprehend or destroy all mutants."
Like I said, it's still in there. It's just buried under other commands that supercede it. Juston tells X--23 that he can't remove that directive without deleting the Sentinel's memory entirely. That's something he's unwilling to do. So don't ask.
Laura ends up walking away from this conversation and right into another one with White Tiger. It looks like White Tiger is planning on dating Juston and is wondering if X-23 has staked a claim. Laura hasn't, obviously.
The talk strays right back into Sentinel territory. White Tiger likens the robot to a pet. That leads X-23 to tell the story of her own pet experience. You see, Laura isn't just a Wolverine clone, she's a Wolverine clone that was raised to be an unstoppable killing machine. Part of that training involved giving her a puppy and then forcing her to kill it. So that's terrible.
Be that as it may, X-23 doesn't think of Sentinel as a pet. It's a mutant killing robot.
The next stop on her conversation trail is in the Global Communications Monitoring Room. She is here to talk to the Avengers Academy Headmaster, Hank Pym. This week, his super-hero moniker is Giant-Man. Pym gives Laura a chance to join the rest of the world's mutant population on Utopia. Since the Phoenix Five have made their presence known and are all about changing the world for the better, Hank just wants to make sure that X-23 isn't being FORCED to stay with an Avengers sanctioned school when she could be out partying it up with other mutants.
The monitors in the room show the PhoeniX-Men out and about, making a better world. Colossus is dismantling weapons. Emma Frost is blowing up Sentinels, just like she was doing in Avengers vs. X-Men #6. We see where our plots converge.
Oh, and Laura makes the decision to stay with Avengers Academy.
I know. I was shocked.
X-23 completes her conversation circuit with a short chat with Hazmat. Jenny Takeda's body is toxic. She has to spend most of her time in an airtight suit just to interact with others. She thinks the Phoenix Five could be the answer to her prayers. Maybe Laura could mention this at the next mutant meeting.
OK, X-23 is all talked out. It's time to get the real action going. On the school grounds, Juston's Sentinel is going nuts, declaring an Omega-Level mutant threat is incoming. We all know who it is so let's just skip to the arrival of...
The Sentinel doesn't even hesitate. It registers the Omega-Level threat and attacks. Emma's ready and redirects the attack right back towards the Sentinel.
That IS why she's here, anyway. This Sentinel is possibly the last Sentinel left on Earth so it's her last stop. Before getting down to business, she asks X-23 is Laura is ready to rejoin the mutants on Utopia. She's not so we're back to Sentinel destroying.
Before the Sentinel is melted down, Hank Pym asks for a compromise. This IS Juston's best friend, after all and it's mostly harmless where mutants are concerned. Emma decides that Juston can KEEP the Sentinel. All they need to do is completely delete its memory and give it a less Sentinel-like appearance. Giant-Man is a robotics pioneer so he could drop in a brand new program that would TOTALLY not become the next Ultron.
Just like before, that's not an option to Juston. I guess it's gonna have to be destruction. The Sentinel is still in panic mode and in its attempt to protect Juston, it resumes its attack on Emma Frost.
Some of the Avengers kids want to join in this fight against Emma but Giant-Man isn't a fool. This is a battle they can't win. Besides, it's not like the Sentinel is sentient. It's just a machine.
Striker makes mention of how Jocasta was "just a machine" but Hank's mind is made up. There's no way he's going to allow his students to fight a Phoenix. Juston screams as his best friend's arm bursts into cosmic flames.
Finally, X-23 remembers what it was like to love her puppy and decides that it's not much different from Juston's love for the Sentinel. She pops her claws and makes a swipe and Emma Frost. The rest of the Avengers students race in to support one of their own. Tigra joins them.
Hank Pym relents. This was always going to be a fight.
The All-New, All-Different X-Men #94
Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Dave Cockrum
Inker: Bob McCleod
Plotter-Editor: Len Wein
The issue in a nutshell:
The X-Men lineup officially changes as most of the original X-Men leave the team, replaced by most of the All-New, All-Different roster. After weeks of training and honing their skills in the Danger Room, the X-Men are given a mission by Beast of the Avengers to defeat Count Nefaria who has infiltrated NORAD Headquarters. When they reach Mount Valhalla, Nefaria fires a beam at their jet, leaving the team hanging in mid-air without an aircraft to support them.
The issue by bullet points:
• Sunfire, Angel, Iceman, Marvel Girl, Havok, and Polaris leave the X-Men. Cyclops, Banshee, Thunderbird, Wolverine, Storm, Colossus, and Nightcrawler stick around.
• Cyclops starts the new team on a strict Danger Room schedule. Five days a week, six hours a day. It sounds great.
• Eventually, Thunderbird takes a laser blast to the leg. Cyclops chews him out and they almost get into a fight.
• When Professor X telepathically breaks the two up, we learn that Scott is actually more upset with himself, blaming his own leadership skills for T-Bird's injury.
• Nefaria and his Ani-Men take over the Mount Valhalla NORAD Headquarters and use it's Doomsmith System to ransom the world out of a buttload of money.
• I believe a "buttload" is an actually quantity of money. I'm not looking it up.
• Beast calls up from Avengers Headquarters to hand an unwanted mission to the X-Men.
• The X-Men fly to Colorado in their modified SR-71 Blackbird. After facing a near devastating missile attack, the X-Jet is blasted to oblivion by a special sonic disruptor ray.
• This blast makes the aircraft disappear but leaves it's occupants in tact... for about as long as it takes them to hit the ground.
The issue in EXTREME detail:
Giant-Size X-Men #1 left readers with a serious question: What are we going to do with THIRTEEN X-Men? The modern day answer would be to launch a brand new X-Book and reap some money off a dwindling fan base. But this was 1975. The only X-Men book was JUST getting out of reprints to show new adventures of the world's premier mutant super-hero team. Sales were shakey and success wasn't guaranteed. Marvel hadn't even gotten CLOSE to succumming to franchise mentality.
So the answer we get in this issue is: we get a new line-up of X-Men as the originals take off for parts unknown. Xavier is in the middle of congratulating his X-Men on their success against the monster island of Krakoa when the first X-Man decides he's had enough of this team and storms off in a huff. It's not one of the old ones. This is Sunspot. Shiro isn't a team player and his main concern is with his homeland. He soars off, promising that he'll never join the X-Men again.
So that's one down.
The rest of the All-New, All-Different X-Men are asked whether they'll stay or go. Colossus, Nightcrawler, Storm, and Wolverine agree to stay... at least for now. Thunderbird is silent on the issue and ends up sticking around. Banshee believes that he's too damn old for this sh!t but Xavier gets him to agree to stay anyway. Sean's not retiring just yet.
It's only after the newbies have decided to stay that the original team (Angel, Iceman, and Marvel Girl) and the later members (Havok and Polaris) announce that they'll be leaving the team. They've grown up and it's time for them to spread their wings and fly. Angel and Iceman would be moving out west to join the Champions. Havok and Polaris would become mind controlled bad guys. Marvel Girl wouldn't be leaving for long. Her relationship with Cyclops would always keep her nearby. It's only when she's replaced by the Phoenix that she ACTUALLY leaves the team.
In the middle of their farewell speech, Wolverine interupts them and tells the original team to hurry up, leave, and stop making a fuss. This pisses Iceman off and we almost get our first fight between the old and new team. Iceman vs. Wolverine... it could have been fun.
Instead, Cyclops orders both of them to stand down. Bobby complies right away but Logan was a rebel without a cause, doing his best Hawkeye to Scott's Captain America. For a long time, these two would be bickering back and forth. It doesn't help when Wolverine falls in love with Jean Grey.
With the rest of the original X-Men going their separate ways, it just leaves the First X-Man, Cyclops. He doesn't know what he should do. He spends most of the night trying to decide. What it comes down to is his destructive powers and how they get in the way of him living a normal life. Warren, Bobby, Jean... even Lorna with her green hair... they can all pass for human and get away with it (Angel's wings fold in pretty nicely). Scott Summers is stuck wearing sunglasses at night.
When the originals take their leave in the morning, Jean finds Cyclops dressed in his super-hero costume. This finalizes his decision to stay on as the X-Men's field leader. Jean and Scott's relationship is in doubt right up until the point when they kiss their good-byes. Even then, Cyclops is left in a melancholy mood.
When the original team is gone, Cyclops switches straight into drill instructor mode. It's time for the X-Men to begin their training. The Danger Room is introduced to the new team members and Scott gives them some simple instructions: cross the room.
Since it looks empty, the task appears a whole lot more simple than it actually is. The first one to try is Thunderbird. He doesn't make it very far.
Training begins in earnest as Cyclops spends the next couple weeks drilling the new X-Men into seriously competant fighters. Even better, he gets them to become a TEAM. The X-Men train for six hours a day but at least they get weekends off.
Eventually, one of the new X-Men gets injured in the Danger Room. It's Thunderbird. He doesn't take his failure well, snapping at Banshee when the Irish mutant comes to his aid. When Cyclops chews him out for being a loose cannon, Thunderbird is ready and willing to fight the X-Men's leader. Before the two can come to blows, a telepathic scolding from Professor X ends things. Thunderbird is ordered to the infirmary. Cyclops is sent to Xavier's office.
If you're wondering, in a team full of insubordinate teammembers, it's THUNDERBIRD that is the loose cannon. While the text tells us that they've learned to work well as a team, we see that John Proudstar and Logan are both unwilling to give up on their loner status. Everyone else pretty much falls in line. These two just won't give Cyclops a break. In the grand Hawkeye tradition, Thunderbird's internal thoughts tell us that he's not happy with how he acted even though he continues to talk smack whenever his mouth finds itself open.
Let's zip on over to Colorado to Valhalla Mountain. Within this lone Rocky Mountain is the headquarters for NORAD (North American Air Defense Command). The place is top notch so you'd expect its security to be a WHOLE lot better than it turns out to be. When one of the operators gets a curious and unexpected package during mail call, you'd expect security to have flagged it and inspected it for its malicious purpose.
Nah, you can't have a story if people are competant.
The package contains a remote control with one red button on it. The text says "PRESS ME" and our operator, while highly suspicious, is also far too curious. He presses that red button and a portal opens in the middle of the room. Through it come the Ani-men.
The Ani-Men are half human-half beast monsters working for Count Nefaria. When they clear the room, their boss appears. Nefaria uses the control panel to gas the rest of the facility and just like that, NORAD headquarters is his to command.
The Count flashes back to tell us what he's been up to since his defeat in X-Men #22 but doesn't go into any real details on why he's not dead. He just says that he's not and then recounts how he used his Maggia influence to creat the Ani-Men and ransom their humanity for service.
As Count Nefaria continues along on his masterplan, we return to the X-Mansion and witness a chat between Cyclops and Nightcrawler. Scott may be hard on the rest of the X-Men but he's the hardest on himself. Sure, he chewed out Thunderbird on being careless but he is internally yelling at himself for not being a better leader. He blames himself of Proudstar getting hurt in the Danger Room. Summers explains this to Kurt before they are both called to the Briefing Room.
When they get there, they're just in time to listen to Count Nefaria's list of demands. The Count has activated NORAD's Doomsmith Command System and gained access to a hell of a lot of missiles. What he intends to DO with those missiles is get paid. Every nation needs to give him money or he's going to annihilate some countries. The deadline is set at three hours.
You've been waiting all this time, probably trying to figure out what the HELL this comic has to do with the Avengers. Well, here it is. A situation like this is a natural Avengers Assemble moment. This is what Earth's Mightiest Heroes are all about. It should fall right into their purview. It turns out that the Avengers are too busy to deal with Count Nefaria. Instead, brand shiny new Avengers and former original X-Man, Beast, has called up his former team to pass the adventure off on them.
Hank McCoy was expecting to see his old teammates and is surprised to see a lot of unfamiliar faces. Still, Xavier vouches for them so he gives them the mission and then goes back to whatever the Avengers are doing.
Cyclops orders his team into action but tells Thunderbird that due to that earlier injury, John will be staying behind. Proudstar is about ready to pick another fight with his team leader but Xavier warns that time is of the essence and clears T-Bird for the X-Men's second adventure. Everyone loads up into the X-Men's Blackbird and we're off to Valhalla Mountain at Mach four.
On the way into restricted airspace, the Blackbird encounters some US aircraft. Cyclops radios in and informs the jets that they are here answering an Avengers call and he's told to get into contact with General Fredericks who is on the ground with his army, trying to break into the NORAD facility. Fredericks is no fan of mutants but he's not ready to turn down help. He lists off just how defensible Nefaria's position is but the big concern is still the Doomsmith System.
While Nefaria is just using it as a tool to get rich, he doesn't know that the Doomsmith System has only a limited time before it can't be shut down. The deadline is two hours away but the X-Men only have fifty-two minutes until the world goes boom. It's really too bad the Avengers couldn't be bothered for something like this...
Inside NORAD's war room, the Blackbird has just shown up on the radar. The craft is positively ID's as the X-Men's jet and Nefaria decides that it's time for a little bit of revenge. Missiles are launched.
Cyclops shows us just how good of a pilot he is by performing some amazing aerial maneuvers that manage to destroy all but one of the trailing missiles. One, unfortunately, is all Nefaria needs. The Blackbird is hit and the poor Blackbird is doomed. The X-Men are not. Before the whole jet goes up in flames, Cyclops manages to separate a section of the jet which then becomes it's only flying craft.
Nefaria is in a serious rage when he discovers that the X-Men have survived his missile barrage. Slamming his fist down on the control panel, he unleashes a sonic disruptor beam on the X-Men's jet. It strikes the aircraft and when the disruptor beam subsides, the jet is all gone.
Sure, the X-Men are still alive but they're dangling in the air, set for one hell of a drop.
The story is continued in the next issue but I'm guessing everyone dies... except that Thunderbird guy. That one looks like a survivor.
Hey! I finished this one! I'm sure you are all happy for me.
Until next time: Have a good week!