This time, it's three comics! No waiting!
Today, we check out Secret Warriors #9, Nova #31, and Blast to the Past for Avengers #4. Enjoy and spread the word!
This would have been a two comic week except I forgot one tiny comic from last week's massive list.
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Let's bring ourselves up to date with the most Secret of Warriors.
Secret Warriors #9
Writer: Jonothan Hickman
Artist: Alessandro Vitti
Last issue, Nick Fury was beaten up by Hawkeye, got a lecture from Norman Osborn, and then got shot in the head three times. The body fell to the ground, opened up, and out came Ares' son, Phobos. The REAL Nick Fury was on stakeout with John Garrett and the two discussed this very important mission in vague details. Eden and JT were watching for signs of Phobos from a building across the street from Yankee Stadium when things started exploding. The two stole themselves some HAMMER uniforms and got the drop on Ares and Hawkeye. Norman Osborn had a little chat with Alexander. Ozzy got a blast of fear power before all three Caterpillars escaped with a little help from Ares. In Inside Straight, Daisy got a look at Yo-Yo's new robot hands before all the alarms started going off. Alex, JT, and Eden were on their way back inside with a platoon of HAMMER Agents right behind them.
In this issue, Eden, JT, and Alex run right ahead of pursuing HAMMER Agents and a few Dark Avengers. The three take one of Eden's teleportals and are followed by Ares. Yo-Yo takes on a hell of a lot of HAMMER Agents. Daisy unleashes an army of Nick Fury LMD's. The Secret Warriors continue their fight with Ares, Hawkeye, and the Iron Patriot as well as numerous HAMMER Agents. Thirty seconds before their base explosed, the Warriors make their getaway. Norman jets out soon afterwards. At the US Department of the Treasury, John Garrett has a meeting with Seth Waters. Waters gives Garrett a whole lot of warnings before the cyborg leaves and meets with Nick Fury. The Secret Warriors rendezvous at the Cocoon base. Ares emerges from the rubble of Inside Straight.
Before we catch up to normal time and then begin our countdown, we have to turn back the clock and see how Eden got the rest of his team back to the Secret Warrior's current base. Eden's a teleporter but his powers aren't as easy as just thinking about where he needs to go. He needs to know where he's at first. Since they've been outrunning HAMMER Agents, he's lost track of where they are and can't fold space successfully. The three are heading to the roof of the building in order for Eden to get his internal compass realigned.
Once they get there, they find that Iron Patriot, Ares, and Hawkeye are already waiting for them. HAMMER Agents are landing by the flying truckload. Things are bad.
Eden is able to work out their position and creates a teleportation fold. Because of the nature of his powers, only those that he allows are able to travel through the portal. Unfortunately, he didn't contend with the reality-altering powers of the god of war. Ares ripps the portal back open and starts following. The panics Eden and he tells everyone to run, run, RUN!
Inside Straight is about to blow up. Five minutes. The Secret Warriors inside the base look up at the monitor and still see three of their members racing inside with HAMMER Agents chasing after them. Druid demands that Daisy turn off the self-destruct timer but she doesn't have that kind of authority. That's just for the big man and he's on his own secret mission right now.
Four-and-a-half minutes. Yo-yo has got her uniform on and the team is ready to move out. Quake's plan is to push past the bad guys and get out of this building before it explodes. Daisy asks Yo-yo if she is ready for this sort of action since she's just gotten a pair of bionic arms after her last mission went bust. Slingshot seems ready to prove herself and races off to join the fighting.
Four minutes. Slingshot is all over the place fighting HAMMER Agents and avoiding Iron Patriot's palm blasts. She tells JT, Alex, and Eden that the others are on their way to help out.
Three-and-a-half minutes. Norman orders Hawkeye to shoot arrows through Yo-yo but the speedster is able to catch Lester's shots with ease. The rest of the Secret Warriors have joined the battle but the odds do not look promising. Daisy wonders aloud what Nick Fury would do in this situation. She presses a button on her gauntlets...
Three minutes... and we find out. The room fills with Nick Fury Life Model Decoys. Norman Osborn guesses correctly that this is a LMD processing facility. The battle's just become a lot more even. The Secret Warriors aren't trying to beat Ozzy and his HAMMER Squad. They just want to get through the crowd. All these LMDs just create more crowd to wade through.
Two minutes and thirty seconds. Ares raises his axe to strike JT. Stonewall notices the potentially killing blow and moves between the two. The god of war's axe buries itself deeply in Jerry's chest but it doesn't seem to hurt him. In fact, he looks at it, says "this'll work" and alters his skin from stone to metal. That done, he hits Ares in the face.
Two minutes. Nick has stopped being overly concerned about the Nick Fury army he's facing. He's killing them with joy in his heart. Before this can be his best day ever, Quake sneaks up on him and destroys his helmet with her power gauntlets.
Losing the helmet doesn't put Osborn out of the game. He turns a palm blaster on Quake and shoots her across the room.
One-and-a-half minutes. Stonewall is able to stop Daisy from hitting anything other than his metal form. I guess that means she isn't permanently harmed. Jerry might be, however. Hawkeye has put the giant Secret Warriors in his sights and has switched over to blast arrows. After getting one good shot to Stonewall's back, Hawkeye is stopped in his tracks by Slingshot.
One minute. Lester isn't that worried about Yo-yo. I mean, she's a girl. Look at her being a girl. Slingshot is also a very pissed off super speedster. After Hawkeye taunts her a bit, Slingshot unleashes a super speed volley of punches leaving the Avenger nicely beaten.
Thirty seconds. Stonewall stops Slingshot from doing any more hitting. It's time for the Secret Warriors to make tracks. Eden has opened up another teleportal. Norman and his Dark Avengers notice their foes leaving. Ozzy decides that's a good idea.
Ten seconds. Norman already has Hawkeye. He tells Ares to get a grip and he'll fly them all to safety. Ares declines. He's got business with his son that won't be stopped this easily. While the god of war races to catch his departing son, Iron Patriot flies off. Even though he has a spare arm and isn't carrying up Ares, he still kicks the HAMMER Agent who begs to be saved. Ares shouts out to his son about coming home before Phobos makes it to the portal and disappears from view. We're still not sure where this happens in relation to Dark Avengers #9 which shows a completely different type of interaction between father and son.
Zero minutes, zero seconds. Inside Straight explodes around Ares.
Remember how I mentioned a few weeks back how Dark Reign- The List: Secret Warriors didn't happen until after THIS issue? This is where I prove it.
John Garrett has an appointment with Seth Waters at the US Department of the Treasury. John's using an assumed name: Jacob Coolidge of the Department of Energy. He meets Waters and goes into some b.s. story about greater communication between departments.
Seth isn't fooled for an instant. He knows that before him is the cyborg, John Garrett. He even has a full history of the man readily available for him to spout off random facts. The only thing he doesn't know is how Garrett got through two metal detectors. Garrett, who knows his cover is blown, tells Waters that he's not metal anymore. Most of his cybernetic parts are polycarbonate.
Seth laughs at this and then mentions Pieta. We don't know what happened at Pieta but it's enough that it gets a scowl out of Garrett. This is followed up by various warnings from Waters and the people he works for. They know Garrett is working for Fury. They know everything Nick is doing. Nick needs to stop before he incurs their wrath. Before John leaves, Seth tells him that his people are EVERYWHERE.
It's a comforting thought, eh?
John Garrett walks out and enters the passenger side of a parked car. Nick Fury's in the other seat. When asked how things went, Garrett tells him "It's done." Nick smiles and plans out the next part of their mission. This is what leads right into the Secret Warriors' "The List" special one-shot and the reveal of the spy organization "Leviathan." Definitely worth the ride just to see Nick Fury clock Norman Osborn.
The Secret Warriors are bruised but not beaten. They arrive at Nick Fury's Secret Base #17, the Cocoon to fix themselves up before Fury's return. Jerry tells Yo-yo that they ARE going to talk about her beating the crap out of Hawkeye but it'll be at a later date. The rest of the team just makes what recovery they can. Eden is sitting close to Phobos and gives his condolences to the death of Alex's dad. Alexander just smiles.
As Phobos voices over how hard it is to kill a god, Ares rises from the wreckage of Nick Fury Secret Base #22, the Inside Straight. It's not easy to kill the god of war. It's also not impossible. It just isn't happening TODAY.
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artist: Andrea DiVito
In this issue, we flashback to just after the Secret Invasion where Project Pegasus is honoring the Nova Corps for their help with an outdoor barbecue. Nova and Darkhawk have a heart-to-heart about what it means to be a hero. In the present, Nova is chasing after Darkhawk on the planet Shard. He finally catches his friend but they don't get a chance to talk it out before being called in to rescue some Kree archeologists. In another flashback, the new recruits to the Nova Corps go into their first training session with Philo. Rich Rider talks with Worldmind about the innocence of his friend before leaving Philo in charge as he heads out to catch Darkhawk. Back in the present, Darkhawk and Nova race to rescue some Kree before the planet Shard is eaten by Fault creatures. Nova rescues most of the archeologists and flies back to assist Darkhawk in finding the leader. The lead Archeologist find a green Raptor amulet and reaches out to it, becoming the latest of evil Raptors. When Nova flies up to him believing he is Darkhawk, the new Raptor attacks him. Darkhawk shows up soon after and a misunderstanding ensues. Nova realizes his mistake but the two are blasted by the new Raptor before they can counterattack. Aboard the Upholder Class Nova Corps Patrol Cruiser that makes up the Nova Corps current base, the Nova Corps watch as Shard collapses and the life signs of their leader are lost.
It's been a while since we've checked in on Nova. In fact, I'm getting to them one issue before I should since this comic doesn't have a Realm of Kings banner on it. Still, it's the beginning of the Realm of Kings storyline so I'm going to start early. To make things even more fun, we're going to backtrack in this story to just a couple days after the Secret Invasion has ended.
Richard Rider and his fledgling Nova Corps were instrumental in keeping Project: Pegasus out of Skrull hands and, for their efforts, the facility is holding an outdoor barbecue for the Corps. While the aliens learn all about hotdogs, Rich joins Darkhawk on the top of the Project's dome roof. Chris Powell is moody which was his base state before his involvement in the War of Kings. Darkhawk was the security chief of Project: Pegasus but doesn't see himself getting this kind of recognition. He's still C-List and not too happy with that.
Rich tells Chris to be happy that he hadn't been forged in the fires of Annihilation. It wasn't fun and isn't something that anyone would wish on a friend. Besides, Darkhawk does ok, right?
In what passes for the present, Darkhawk is wanted for the assassination of Lilandra Neramani, the former ruler of the Shi'ar Empire. While Chris wasn't in control of his body at the time, it's not like something like that would hold up in a court of law. Well, it might if it were provable but COULD you prove that sort of thing?
Richard Rider himself is flying in to have a chat with his friend. Rider may be Nova Prime but he's also a space cop. He should be looking to arrest Darkhawk. Instead, he knows that his former teammate in the New Warriors couldn't have killed Lilandra. There must be another answer.
Not that Darkhawk is willing to talk. He's ignoring any calls and racing at top speed away from Nova. Nova notices that Darkhawk's armor has upgraded. We know that Darkhawk has several situation-specific armors at his disposal. This one is just really fast.
This leads to a high speed chase through the canyons of Shard. This is extremely dangerous for a variety of reasons. The first and most important reason is that Shard's hours are numbered. The planet is resting right on the edge of the Fault, the giant tear in the fabric of space. The planet is going to break apart quite soon. The second problem is that Nova's gravimetric flight is causing the crystal makeup of the canyon to collapse around him. That's the more immediate threat.
Darkhawk watches as the canyon begins to fall on Richard. This finally gets him to turn around with concern for his friend. Nova bursts from the rubble and tackles the Raptor. The two struggle as Richard tries to explain that he's on Chris's side. Darkhawk switches to close quarters armor to Nova's surprise and is able to break away momentarily. It doesn't last. Nova fires off a gravimetric wave and catches his friend.
Which is a perfect time for a flashback. Six hours earlier in the Nova Corps Patrol Cruiser that is their current base, the Nova Corpsman that have recently joined Rider are getting their first official training. Everyone that was boosted up to Centurion rank has to start again as a Probationer. Those that were Nova Corpsman during Secret Invasion have been given the rank of Millennians and get that swanky starburst on their uniform. This doesn't sit well with Fraktur. She doesn't believe she needs any training and isn't happy about starting over at the beginning.
Centurion Zan Philo is of a different mind. If you haven't met Philo yet, it just means you stopped reading the book after War of Kings. Philo is an old member of the Corps who had found himself stranded in a completely different sector of the galaxy and was unable to return to the rest of the Nova Corps until the Fault ripped space a new one and somehow transported him back. Since he's the most battle trained Nova, he's been put in charge of training the new recruits while Nova Prime watches.
Since Fraktur thinks herself so well-trained, Philo tells her that he'll upgrade her rank back to Centurion if she's able to do one little thing. She has to punch him. One hit is all it will take. That's one hit that will never happen. Philo easily sidesteps and dodges any attack Fraktur makes. The entire time, he's weaving a gravimetric field around the Millennian. Fraktur doesn't think this is fair but, as Philo says, life ain't fair. He uses another trick he's learned: a compressed grav pulse straight to Fraktur's forehead. The fight is over. Philo gives Richard a wink and asks if this is the sort of training he expected. It's probably more than Rider expected but it's good.
A bit later on, Richard talks with the Worldmind on the bridge of their base. He's about to go in and find Darkhawk but he wants it known that he knows that Chris is innocent. He is wondering if leaving Philo in charge is a good idea. Worldmind assures him that it is. She really likes the man and how he scares the new recruits. With that, Richard flies off for his meeting with Darkhawk.
OK, back to the present. Nova has Darkhawk pinned in a gravimetric wave.
The two finally have a chance to talk and Chris confirms that he didn't kill Lilandra. When Richard asks him to explain himself, Powell tells him that THAT might be a bit difficult. Rider plays the New Warrior card and gets his friend to open up. Unfortunately, the planet's distruction hinders their talk.
The Fault isn't waiting around for Shard to break up peacefully. It's reaching out to touch someone. One of those huge cancerous tentacles has just landed on the planet and is spawning monsters all over the place. To make matters even more awesome, the planet has a Kree archeological team on it that hasn't been able to escape just yet. Nova and Darkhawk's big talk will have to wait for a more opportune time. Right now, they've gotta rescue some dudes.
The heroes fly across the landscaping, killing any Fault creature that tries to threaten them. When they reach the archeological team, Darkhawk switches to heavy weapons mode and guards their perimeter and Nova gets the team to load into their survival tent. That thing will have to be enough protection to get them to the safety of the Nova Corps ship. The only problem is that the leader of this expedition is still inside the ruins.
Chris flies inside while Nova lifts the survival tent up to the Nova Corps ship. Darkhawk is able to talk to the archeologist but isn't able to reach the Kree in time. No, the archeologist isn't threatened by a collapsing building. Instead, he's threatened by a green Raptor amulet. The thing is just floating in the air BEGGING to be touched. How can you resist all that floating?
Nova hands off the tent of archeologists to some Probationers and returns to Shard to help out his friend. When he gets to the surface, he finds the green Raptor and mistakes it for Darkhawk. Green Raptor doesn't waste time capitalizing on that and blasting Richard across the surface of the planet. Darkhawk is the next to find Nova and, of course, Rider believes the Red Raptor was the one that struck him. Chris turns his friend around and tells him the truth.
Richard Rider sees the green Raptor and realizes the truth but doesn't have a chance to do anything about it. The green Raptor blasts both him and Darkhawk in a explosion of energy.
On board the Nova Corps ship, Worldmind has lost contact with Nova Prime. There's still hope that this is just a temporary thing until the planet Shard shatters. Philo exclaims to a stunned Nova Corps that Nova Prime is gone.
The Avengers #4
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciler: Jack Kirby
In this star-studded issue, Namor escapes the Avengers and heads off to find his lost people. Instead, he finds eskimos worshiping a figure frozen in ice, he throws out their false god and taunts them until he feels really bad about it. The Avengers, returning from Gibraltar, find that frozen idol but he's already thawed out pretty well. Pulling him inside their craft, the realize that it's the legendary Captain America. Steve wakes up, fights everyone, and then explains how he got frozen in a block of ice. The Avengers land in New York and are turned to stone during a press conference. Cap emerges from the sub finding his new friends gone and some wierd stone statues on the pier. He wanders the city until a police officer directs him to a hotel where he meets up with Rick Jones. The two figure out what happened to the Avengers and go out looking for the man responsible. Finding him, the duo take out the man and his gang before learning that the man isn't a man at all. He's an alien who was coerced into turning the Avengers into statues by the Sub-Mariner. Cap gets him to unstone the Avengers and they work on freeing the alien's craft from it's watery prison. Namor finds some of his missing soldiers and attacks the Avengers. After a fun little battle, the alien's craft takes off and frightens the Atlanteans into full retreat. The Avengers then ask Cap if he would like to join them. He might have said yes.
In the last issue, Namor and the Hulk fought the Avengers and got beaten. Namor raced off into the ocean in anger at the supposed betrayal of the Hulk. After sulking for a bit and trying to find his lost people, Namor swims up north. What he finds will have consequences for the future of the Marvel Universe. On an ice flow, Eskimos are worshiping a figure frozen in ice.
Since Namor does have his moments of being a complete jerk, he decides to bully these people a bit, throwing their Ice God far into the ocean. After frightening everyone off, he realizes that princes don't usually go around terrorizing primitives and sulks a bit more.
We leave Namor right now and focus on that chunk of frozen ice containing the frozen man. It floats away from the northern ice flows, hitting warmer waters where it starts melting. By a strange coincidence, the Avengers are out in their sub on their return trip from battling Hulk and Namor. When they see the frozen figure drifting in the ocean currents, they open a hatch and have Giant-Man bring him inside.
Under the torn remains of clothing, they are able to make out the red, white, and blue costume of Captain America.
Cap does a quick thawing as the Avengers look at his stuff. Steve Rogers doesn't wake up happy. Before the Avengers can calm him down, he's fighting mad, holding his own against all three Avengers men. Once he realizes his anger is misplaced, he grows downright melancholy.
The Avengers aren't completely convinced this is the REAL Captain America and they test his fighting abilities further to find out the truth. After Cap proves he's pretty much an awesome force to be reckoned with, it's time for him to share the story of how he was frozen in a block of ice.
This is the story most of us know pretty well. Steve and Bucky raced on a motorcycle to stop an explosive-filled drone plane. They were able to grab onto the thing at the last moment and ride it into the sky. Unfortunately, the thing was about to explode. Steve was able to get to drop before it goes up but his partner wasn't so lucky. Cap dropped into the ocean and sunk like a rock, filled with sadness at the loss of his partner.
Steve believes that from there he was quick-frozen and saved from death by the super-soldier serum running through his veins. Since, to him, Bucky just died, he's not taking the news well. When the Avengers land in New York, they decide to let Cap stay aboard the ship while they deal with the press waiting outside.
The press is probably here to find out about their battle with Hulk and Namor. It WAS quite a fight but didn't end decisively. They hope to impress people with the return of Captain America but they're turned into stone statues before they can spill the good news. The press thinks this is some sort of trick and disperse to find some real news.
Cap eventually gets bored of waiting aboard the sub and exits the craft. He sees the Avenger statues but doesn't think anything more than the reporters did. He walks the streets of New York and people react to him in a number of different ways. Cap continues walking until he finds the United Nations. He's not certain what the building is for but it has a pretty array of flags. Eventually, he attracts the attention of a police officer who recognizes him from when he was a kid. The police officer leads him to the nearest hotel where Steve faces the evils of television head on.
Worn out from all the time he spent trapped in ice, Rogers takes a little nap. He wakes up to see Bucky coming into his room. Steve is overjoyed until he learns that it's only Rick Jones, the Avengers number 1 sidekick. Apparently, Rick is the spitting image of Bucky Barnes. Rick isn't here just for a house call. He tracked Cap here from the pier and he wants to know what happened to the Avengers. Rick uses the threat of Hulk but that's unnecessary. Steve would love to help the kid track down Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
Steve apologizes for freaking out on Jones and calling him Bucky but the resemblance is remarkable. You can't get first impressions back, however. Rick thinks Steve is off his rocker. Steve decides to prove Rick wrong by taking control of the situation because no madman has ever been a commanding presence before. Still, Cap has a good idea. There were photos taken at the pier and, even though Cap shouldn't know that, they head off to give them a look over. Blowing up a specific photo, they see a man in the crowd who is holding one wicked looking sci-fi gun.
Rick has his Teen Brigade search the city and they eventually find the right due. There are a LOT of guys running around New York City in sunglasses and black hair. This could have taken some time. Cap smashes in to deal with the man who stoned the Avengers but, instead, finds himself facing the man's gang of ne'er-do-wells. Cap destroys their guns with his mighty shield and then gets into close combat to beat them down. When he faces their leader, Captain America dodges the stone ray gun until he gets close enough to unmask the criminal.
It turns out this guy is an asparagus alien. We'll call him 'Sparey', because why not? As his gang clears out, Sparey recounts his tragic tale. The alien's ship crashlanded on earth thousands of years ago. The ship sunk deep into the ocean where it lay out of reach. In his time, he got mistaken for a gorgon because he had to use his stone ray on everyone who tried to kill him. Namor told Sparey that he would free the alien's craft if only Sparey would stonify the Avengers. It's a deeply tragic tale.
Cap tells Sparey that the Avengers could help him out just as easily as Namor and he wouldn't have to turn people into statues for the help. The alien decides to take a chance and unfreezes the Avengers, hoping for the best.
Below the ocean, Namor sulks some more. He's learned that the Avengers aren't stone and it's all Captain America's fault. He learns the lesson that you can't trust nobody for nothin.' The Sub-Mariner swims out to fight the Avengers. On his way to certain battle, Namor finds some of his own warriors swimming around. He calls out to them and finds more people that he can trust for something.
The Avengers are the best good guys ever. They no sooner get unstoned than they help Sparey free his spacecraft from the ocean bottom. After setting up an undersea camera, Thor uses his hammer to raise the ancient spaceship from the depths. Once it's free of the ocean floor, the ship floats around easily. Sparey sets to work repairing his ship as the Avengers find themselves distracted.
BY NAMOR AND HIS ATLANTEAN HORDE! They attack the Avengers as the team is taking a break from helping aliens. Namor fights Iron Man as his warriors face the rest of the team. With a little help from Wasp, Shellhead escapes permanent injury. The Atlanteans, however, find that fighting someone like Thor isn't an easy task.
From here, the battle moves around the small island with small victories placed here and there on both sides. Thor and Namor fight it out leaving the rest of the Avengers to the Atlanteans. Captain America mostly stays out of the fight. He reasons that it's better to watch a battle like this than participate. Only when he finds the life of Rick Jones in peril does Steve Rogers enter the fray.
It's not the most graceful of battles. Cap enters strong but is torn off of his Atlantean foe by the much more powerful Sub-Mariner. Rogers is spared this reunion by a sudden rumbling that shakes the small island. Believing this to be sure signs of an earthquake, Namor and his warriors escape back into the ocean. Namor is pretty certain that the Avengers will be destroyed in the earthquake but isn't sure if that's what he wants. Nevertheless, he and his fellow Atlanteans swim away to fight another day.
The remaining Avengers find that they aren't facing a dangerous earthquake at all. They're only witnessing their friend, Sparey, leaving the planet in his repaired spaceship. The Avengers watch as the craft flies out of sight.
All that's left is the crying. I mean, the job offer. Cap was so brave to watch the Avengers fight, only interfering when "the boy" was in danger, that he just has to be offered membership into their lofty ranks. Captain America accepts their invitation and becomes the very first non-founding Avenger to join the team.
This is all well and good for the Avengers but Rick isn't so sure it's a good idea. I mean, Captain America's got his own issues that need dealing with and he's obviously not over the supposed death of Bucky Barnes. There's also the matter of the Incredible Hulk to deal with. How's the green goliath going to take his slot on the team being filled by another? Is he even going to care?
Nah. He's not.
And we've finished another action packed entry into the ongoing adventures of Super Reads.
Until next time: Who Do YOU Trust?