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Secret Wars Declassified Week 18: AMPing Up The Action!! Fan Faves Are Dropping Like Flies!! | Inside Pulse

Secret Wars Declassified Week 18: AMPing Up The Action!! Fan Faves Are Dropping Like Flies!!

Of the dozen titles out this week seven reach their end. The other five tease us with one more push before the curtain falls. Here’s the recap!

 Ms. MARVEL #18 review spoilers 1

Ms. MARVEL #18
“Last Days, pt. 3” (20 pages) G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, Ian Herring, VC’s Joe Caramagna

Aamir is still asleep within the swirling Terrigen Mist. Kamala suspects that her brother will not become an Inhuman since he hasn’t retreated into a cocoon. When Aamir awakens, the effects are so unstable that he is inadvertently creating psychic blasts. The two Marvels are blasted away. Kamran closes in and tries to bring Aamir to his side. Who wouldn’t want super-powers?? Plus, there’s the risk of rejection by his family. Luckily, Aamir wasn’t born yesterday. He is extremely protective of Kamala and defends her honour. Ms. Marvel is touched but ends up being injured from another blast. Kamran becomes diamond-hard and dukes it out with his fellow Muslim. Aamir gains the upper hand and the evil ex-crush bails. He passes out again. Ms. Marvel leaves him in capable hands. Captain Marvel has to jet but before she does, she gives her protégée a pendant with the star and lighting bolt: symbols for each of them. It’s not just a token of affection, it’s a GPS locator. After a bear hug from Kamala, the Avenger departs. Aamir is trying his best to control his powers. The warm fuzzies felt earlier turn to annoyance when he brushes off his little sister since she cannot empathize with his situation. Little does he know! The parents arrive and they fume at Kamala and fuss over Aamir. Just another day for the poor girl. The anvil drops when Kamala comes clean to her mom about being Ms. Marvel. That’s nothing!! Moms have uncanny instincts. It’s Kamala’s turn to be gobsmacked!!

Ms. MARVEL #18 review spoilers 2
I did not follow this series until now with the overall event affecting all the Marvel books. I picked up #1 and enjoyed it well enough but thought: “not for me.” Aren’t I the fool?? It’s only now that I’ve begun to appreciate the cast and creative team! I chastise myself for sneering. Even though Kamal returns in an all-new setting, I’m chomping at the bit to see how this all finishes. There’s been chatter online that Aamir might be a latent mutant. This is why the Mist didn’t affect him. One minor criticism: I wish Captain Marvel had her full colours instead of the drab grey. [9/10]

 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN -- RENEW YOUR VOWS #5 review spoilers 1AMAZING SPIDER-MAN -- RENEW YOUR VOWS #5 review spoilers 2

“I’ll Always Be There for You” (20 pages) Dan Slott, Adam Kubert & Scott Hanna, Justin Ponsor, VC’s Joe Caramagna

The remaining Avengers have no hope in defeating Regent. Peter is ebbing away. All seems lost. Honour thy father!! That’s exactly what Annie May Parker codename AMP does as she embraces her heroic side! She and MJ ‘port into the leech’s liar where they proceed to kick major butt. MJ orders her daughter to break apart all the cells holding the metahumans while she puts on a battlesuit. Regent senses the disruption immediately. He is not a happy camper! Family is all that matters to Peter. This is the impetus to release him from the siphoning cell. He takes Regent to the street. Annie joins in. She stabs him in the shoulder de-powering him. All three Parkers gain up on him. The man is still a mount of muscle. He is swift enough to grab Annie by the throat when she approaches him. Peter defuses the situation by using his unique brand of humour. The chortle is enough time to let up his guard and be pummelled by Peter. The Parkers get to have their happy ending: sitting at the table eating banana pancakes, unaware of their overseer Doom.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN -- RENEW YOUR VOWS #5 review spoilers 3AMAZING SPIDER-MAN -- RENEW YOUR VOWS #5 review spoilers 5
Not controversial enough, IMO. MJ does ask Peter if he would kill Regent given the chance. He remains mute on the matter. Dan Slott deserves a Pulitzer Prize for finally explaining why Spider-Man always cracks wise – it has him focus, calms others around him, sets off the bad guys who expose themselves by closing their eyes and tilting back their heads. Ingenious!! How can no other writer have thought of this?? I love seeing Spidey in the black costume. He seems much more bad-ass which is how he should be now and again. MJ is moving over to INVINCIBLE IRON MAN {2nd Series} (wouldn’t have guessed that in a million years!) It’s a matter of time before AMP makes her ways into fans’ hearts. [8/10]

“The Chronicle” (20 pages) Sam Humphries, Marc Laming, Jordan Boyd, VC’s Travis Lanham

The Captain goes nutso over the Red King’s complicity in Bucky’s murder. So much so, that the Hulk is bashed to death with Steve’s shield. Gruesome!! Ready for the ultimate left fielder? Doc Green reveals that he was in the know the entire time! That’s not the best part. He brings about his human form: Steven Rogers :0 He assures the Captain that they are cut from the same cloth. As if!! Instead of the Super Soldier Serum, this one bathed in Gamma radiation and decided to serve Doom. Devil Dinosaur makes his way back to his ‘brother’ once more. The Captain throws the head of the Mud Kingdom’s former monarch at the Hulks. He informs his pal that Bucky is deceased. Devil has a crying fit. The Gamma-powered Rogers lies dead with the battleaxe across his chest. Cap and Devil ride away far from the irradiated land.

¡¡Holy guacamole!! No wonder there was heavy focus on Steve’s story. Banner never figured into this equation! DDAAMMNN!! The parallel pages on Bucky and Steve were different enough to emphasize the twist. Mr. Humphries: why not flat out state that Bucky and Steve were more than friends?? C’mon, man!! What harm would that have done?!? I enjoyed the entirety of this mini-series. It exceeded my expectations and shattered my prejudices. [9.5/10]
 SECRET WARS 2099 #5

SECRET WARS 2099 #5 (of 5)
“” (20 pages) Peter David, Will Sliney, Antonio Fabela, VC’s Joe Caramagna

Martin Hargood better known as Baron Mordo casually walks into Alchemax. He’s about to bring the noise by summoning an evil entity. Roberta is having a major freak-out. She really lives in horror of super-heroes. Herc gives her the details of her secret origin but she isn’t buying it. Miguel Stone has all the cards laid out. She communicates to her via the earpiece and uses the trigger word to have her in full fighting form. He needs all hands on deck since the Dweller-in-Darkness has been brought to our dimension. Iron Man is the first to fall victim since DID realizes that the man inside the armour is miniscule in every way. Miguel ends up killing his father by tossing him out the window. Extreme!! Herc and Valkyrie take the brunt of Mordo’s mystical bolts when Cap sucker punches him from behind. DID is doing real well with his nastiness: he’s chilled Hulk and Surfer to the bone. Roman returns with Giganto who is completely unaffected by the fear monger. Strange cleans up the mess by disposing of the portal. Miguel forgives Cap’s desertion and has her reinstated. The same goes for Herc. The Defenders are given a free pass. The two leaders Cap and Strange shake on their new-found friendship. Cap will be seeking answers from her hubby. The series ends on an intriguing interlude: Tania goes full-on Black Widow and devours her mate.

Mordo was thrown in randomly. I don’t recall the build-up to this. I guess the point was to create a threat that would unite the disparate Defenders with the in-line Avengers. Dang it!! I must say I want to read more about Roberta Mendez’s brainwashing programming. We know her beloved is an agent/spy. I want to see her trace back her lineage as Herc pointed it out to her. [7.5/10]

“” (20 pages) Skottie Young, Jean-François Beaulieu, Jeff Eckleberry

Twins caught in a triple team tug-of-war equals mayhem, little marvel style!! But wait! A fourth team buds in: the eerie Inhumans!! Let the sparks fly! Medusa persuades Zack and Zoe to join them on a walkabout. They witness an extremely long birthing of Nuhumans from the Terrigen Mist. Black Bolt blasts Cyclops. Everyone is taken aback but the bickering resumes. Zach and Zoe scold the assemblage. They are not playthings! All the citizens of Marville have to be true to themselves: petty squabbling is in their blood. The massive mêlée leaves them with no choice but to pick a side. Quicksilver whisks them away. they are fearful of their surroundings. Quickie slaps on their costumes. They have been initiated into the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. The term is a bit of misnomer but whatever.

The cutesy had enough dark elements to it!! I’m surprised by the final outcome yet again. The two Z’s look delightfully wicked in their matching outfits. The Inhumans’ appearance isn’t that far-fetched but was a bit unexpected. This is Skottie Young’s way of pointing out the four mega-franchises of Marvel Comics. The double-page spreads were dope! All the major characters from the Marvel Handbook were involved in the tussle. I’m predicting there’s more to this than meets the eye. A sequel is in the works!! [8.5/10]

“” (20 pages) Dan Abnett, Otto Schmidt, Cris Peter, VC’s Clayton Cowles

Michael Korvac is nigh-unstoppable. He’s fully tapped into the Power Cosmic. The Avengers do not hesitate in having him killed but the Guardians feel differently. The fighting stops when Michael states his good intentions. Starhawk arrives and informs his baron of the vast power within him. Even Korvac was oblivious. The latent energy leaked from his body and infected others thus creating the Madness. Starhawk has Moondragon link her mind to his. He reveals the truth to all: stars abound and there was another reality before the Incursion!! Ballsy! Korvac hid this knowledge from Doom as well as himself. He’s not up to snuff to take down the God Emperor. The Thors are on to his scent. They execute both teams. This is the key for Korvac to expand his might. The Guardians are resurrected but remain hidden and forgotten from the world. Korvac sacrificed himself. Starhawk realizes that they must remain true to their name bysafeguarding the galaxy, the alternate universe, and more importantly the truth.

The build-up to the climax was even-paced. Korvac flushed out his full potential. It’s unfortunate the Avengers didn’t make it. The art failed to garner my attention. A decent delivery. [6/10]

 MRS. DEADPOOL and the HOWLING COMMANDOS #4 review spoilers 1

“” (20 pages) Gerry Duggan, Salva Espin, Val Staples, VC’s Joe Sabino

What do you get when you pit monsters against each other? Bloodshed, and litres of it!!! Shiklah produces the Sceptre of the Manticore which temporarily has Dracula quivering in his cape until he knocks it out of her hand. Werewolf slashes him in the neck but his own neck is snapped by the Lord of Darkness. The Howling Commandos are dropping like flies: Frankie is swarmed by vampires. Mummy has his immortal heart plucked, Marcus is decapitated. Deadpool’s ghost pulls a Deadman by possessing a vampire minion. He uses the Sceptre before Shiklah seizes it and fries her arranged husband. Surpisingly, she can see DP in his astral form. She becomes drunk with power. Wade tries to dissuade her. The Thors crash the party. She and all the vampires fall before the lightning. Wade ends the tale by closing the book and expressing surprise at his upcoming new series. He wonders if the Invisible Man is alive and in his presence. Nope! Guess not!

MRS. DEADPOOL and the HOWLING COMMANDOS #4 review spoilers 2
The highlight of this final chapter was Marcus’ and N’Kantu’s relationship coming to light. Who’d have thunk it? They may not have died in each other’s arms but their ends were met within proximity. The other humorous thing was the deliberate dig at the Distinguished Competition’s body-jumper. DP breaking the fourth wall is his schtick. I find Dracula extremely annoying. I’m glad the bloodsucker finally expired. Wade sure got over his pookey’s death pretty quickly. [6.5/10]

 A-FORCE #4 review spoilers 1

“” (20 pages) Marguerite Bennett & G. Willow Wilson, Jorge Molina, Craig Yeung & Walden Wong, Laura Martin, VC’s Cory Petit

Arcadia is on high alert!! A traitor walks among them. Singularity brings back the four fierce fighters. She inspires each of them: Dazzler must smile, Captain Marvel must fight, Nico must feel, She-Hulk must give and forgive. Jen snaps out of her pity party. She saw a link to Asgard while she was traveling through portals. Nico puts its all together: Loki is the betrayer!! The facts present themselves. The trickster wants to be Queen for more than one day. Gamora, Sif, and Valkyrie stand by her as the enforcers. Begin battle! In her lust for power, Loki was careless. The portals were triggered before America’s exile. The Thors turn on her. Loki is vanquished. She has the last word. She unleashes an energy bolt which destroys the wall keeping out the zombies. A-Force has their work cut out for them.

A-FORCE #4 review spoilers 2
The identity of the double-crosser was predictable. There was a possibility this Loki could be virtuous but…nah!! There would be no spice to this story if that were the case. Nico is the one affected the most. It’s an unfortunate adage that those closest to us always hurt us, turn on us, and break our trust. Singularity will save the day. I just know it!! [7/10]
 CIVIL WAR #4 review spoilers 1

“” (20 pages) Charles Soule, Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, Sunny Gho, Joe Sabino

Captain America and Iron Man suit up, respectively. Steve asks Peter to retrieve his shield. Tony flies into the divide to rescue Jen. T’Challa has the de-powered She-Hulk tightly sealed. Cap rallies his forces and gives them an inspiring speech as all generals do. He orders the bridge that links the two sides to be blasted. First salvo launched! Tony is unsuccessful at freeing Jen. T’Challa reveals his true face(s) to him: he is a shape-shifter!! Both sides have been deceived into taking out the other. Aside from that, Tony realizes the real Black Panther would have taken him out permanently. The fraud turns out to be Veranke, the Skrull Empress. Tony and Jen knock out as many as they can. She has to bring forth the juicy tidbit from Steeltown. Steve orders Peter on a secret mission. He surrenders to the Iron.

Well, I’m surprised yet again. I didn’t expect to see the Skrulls involved in this but Charles Soule is acknowledging the subtle secretive plot Bendis developed. I’m curious to see if Iron Man will be the victor as he was in the original mini-series. Cap needs more than one fighting chance. [7/10]
 1602 WITCH HUNTER ANGELA #3 review spoilers 1

“In Which Hearts Rend and Heads Roll” (20 pages) by Marguerite Bennett, Stephanie Hans; in addition to Kieron Gillen, Frazer Irving; VC’s Clayton Cowles

The third Faustian has been found!! She is a rogue by the name of Anna Maria. She is absolutely bonkers since the Enchantress uses her as a conduit. Serah determines the sorceress’ diabolic plan – she is using fiction to amass an army of believers and increase the Faerie magic. Anna Maria tells her story to Angela: she was born Witchbreed but made a deal with the Enchantress to be rid of her curse which turned her into a Faustian. After two weeks, Angela doesn’t see Anna as a threat. She wants to take the wayward young woman under her wing but Serah won’t hear of it. Angela tells Anna a story to calm her nerves: the star-crossed lovers Cloak and Dagger who played the roles of Romeo and Juliet. Enchantress comes to collect the debt owed to her: Serah’s life is taken from her. Anna offers her condolences but Angela shuns her. She burns her lover in a pyre. The plot takes a macabre twist: Serah’s skull speaks to her trueheart and bemoans her lack of sense of humour :0

1602 WITCH HUNTER ANGELA #3 review spoilers 2
Rogue’s inclusion in this tale was heart-wrenching and poignant. If she were to exist in the 17th century, she would be seen as a madwoman. I applaud Serah’s scholastic side!! She is the better of the two. The fact that she breaks the fourth wall yet again: “This is a period piece, you know.” and mocks herself by referring to Hamlet’s Yorick is clever. As an English teacher, I appreciate the allusions made as well as the level of language. A modern classic. [8.5/10]


RED SKULL #3 (of 3)
“Freedom” (20 pages) Joshua Williamson, Luca Pizzari, Rainier Beredo,
VC’s Clayton Cowles

Whose book is this: Magneto’s or Skull’s?? Maggie hogs the spotlight in the first half of the book!! He fends off various Sentinels from the Shield’s Hel-Rangers under Abigail Brand’s command. He makes it back to the traitorous crimson-faced con artist. Skull de-powers his former ally and tosses him to the zombies for their next meal. Mags refuses to be consumed. He sets off a bomb. Skull walks away unscathed planning to live for a lengthy amount of time. His skull is pierced by a bullet. He is decapitated by Crossbones. The mercenary was true to his word. He wants to serve Doom by proving that no one comes out alive from the Shield.

The plot did a 360. It’s disappointing to see the main antagonist absent or in the background for one half of his eponymous title. For a brief moment I actually thought Magneto was the Skull once he was singed. This is reminiscent of SUPER-VILLAIN TEAM-UP. Perhaps it should have been named that? Or RED SKULL & MAGNETO. Details. No honour ever among evildoers. [5/10]
 SIEGE #3 review spoilers 1

“It’s Called ‘Siege’ Because it’s About a Siege” (20 pages) Kieron Gillen, Filipe Andrade, Rachelle Rosenberg, VC’s Clayton Cowles as well as double-page spreads by Julian Totino Tedesco; Juan José Ryp & Andy Troy; Michael Wm. Kaluta & Rachelle Rosenberg

The first issue was pretty decent but this has become so convoluted. I’m trying to process Kang’s involvement in all this. Nick the Fury’s sudden involvement doesn’t have my interest. The two (male?) Ultrons professing their love for each other is an eye-opener but doesn’t add to the plot. Kate Bishop and America Chavez have to be put to better use. Magik returns with Leah and obliterates the opposition. Thanos appearing to surrender one day before the inevitable end leaves me unconvinced and unimpressed. [2/10]

SIEGE #3 review spoilers 2

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