Lucky seven!! Perhaps, unlucky depending on which characters meet their doom! Natch ;-P With six more weeks until the (mostly) end of publication, several titles are closing up shop. This weekly segment has five of them conclude but that doesn’t mean all is wrapped up in a pretty little bow. The remaining two have one more lap to run before the race is over.
“Doomed Youth, pt. 4” (22 pages) by Noelle Stevenson, Sanford Greene w/ Noelle Stevenson, John Rauch, VC’s Clayton Cowles
Flashback to the Runaways’ failed attempt to run. Delphyne loses her arm in the scuffle. Sanna regrets her actions and siding with the enemy. Delphyne forgives her and assures her that no one despises her. Her gaydar is spot-on when she surmises that Sanna has the hots for Jubilee. Sanna storms off, deeply embarrassed. Bucky takes Amadeus to see Valeria. She really tries to sweeten him up and recruit him. He doesn’t fall for the syrupy speech. Cloak sends an APB throughout the school. He rallies all the students to fight back. Molly eagerly leads the revolt. Delphyne regains her arm. Cho is astonished but she resembles a reptile after all. The students are making great headway. Jubes is cornered by extremely efficient and deadly Doombots. Sanna appears and professes her heart to the spark plug. Jubes returns the affection in kind, lip-smacking the tough talker. The gang’s all together. Bucky gives the rebels a fighting chance. He sacrifices himself for the future generation. The robots are impeccably programmed that no override works. Valeria is distraught when her right-arm man [natch!] kicks dust. Val is so enraged with grief that she wants to return to Daddy Doom. The group break out and decide where life will lead them next.
Domain #19: Doomstadt
Noelle Stevenson goes the co-creator route by sharing pencils. Due to my ineptitude in judging art, it’s difficult to ascertain specifically her contribution. The facial expressions are deliberately exaggerated, giving them an animé/manga feel. Pixie was the sole casualty of this disparate band. I will admit that my own gaydar didn’t ping regarding bruiser Sanna and mean girl Jubilee. That threw me for a loop. Bucky’s sacrifice shows that he is simply not a soldier, having disobeyed orders and seeing the value of human life. A new team is forged. Fans will want more! [7.5/10]
INHUMANS: ATTILAN RISING #5
“The Dying of the Light” (20 pages) Charles Soule, John Timms, Roberto Poggi, Frank D’Armata, VC’s Clayton Cowles
Black Bolt and Medusa, together again for the first time. As it should be!! The Queen orders all the resistance fighters to be released. Medusa has seen the light. She was played by Doom. The populace must realize there is no freedom. The only solution to this is to destroy New Attilan which is broadcasting the enormous lie. The two sides are to evacuate the city and distract the Thors. Medusa will disable the device. Black Bolt tags along because he doesn’t completely trust her and he wants to finally fulfill his years-long mission. Sterilon turns on Aurun when he sees she is with Gorgon. G-Man makes a comeback!! One such as he doesn’t embrace death that easily. The Spirit of Ignition blasts the mind manipulator with an intense penance stare. At the central core, the Thors interrupt the plan. Black Bolt flings himself in front of one of the blasts. He’s severely hurt. Medusa takes him to the inner chamber. The only way to heal him is to enter the Terrigen Mists. The effects are unknown: he may die or emerge with powers. He agrees to the process. His true voice is finally heard and does it ever pack a wallop!! Doom witnesses the entire thing. He bemuses how the outcome is the same as the “last time”. This implies that Bolt’s destiny is pre-determined no matter how much Doom tampers with reality. The tables have turned: Black Bolt is made ruler of Attilan and Medusa is the head of the resistance at the Quiet Room. Whoa!!
Domain #20a: Attilan
An enjoyable and extremely (un)predictable end to this five-part saga!! I was wondering if in this makeshift universe, BB would actually lose his voice for it to be amplified. I really dig Medusa’s new look. Her extra-long locks have been shorn. Her beautiful but defiant stance reminds me of Greg Land’s art. The most eye-popping moment is Doom’s casual response to the (up)rising. BB was one of the Illuminati in the MU. Will he eventually rebel and attempt to oust Doom? [8/10]
YEARS of FUTURE PAST #5
“” (20 pages) Marguerite Bennett, Mike Norton, FCO Plascencia, VC’s Joe Caramagna
Sibling rivalry goes to the extreme between Cameron and Chrissie. This is worse than the ideological differences between Charles and Erik!! Then again, this is the X-universe. The writers don’t rest on their laurels. The X-Men stand ready to save Kelly from his ill-begotten fate. Cameron vaporizes in their midst and undoes everything. He snatches the President and promises to snuff him. Kitty arrives in the nick of time with Chrissie and Lockheed. Another traitor is in their midst: Rachel!!! She was easily convinced by Magneto of the martyr manoeuvre. Chrissie succeeds in saving Kelly. She and Cameron have a re-match. It ends a lot more quickly when she impales him with one of her blades. There is major upset but they must all flee. Sanctuary is found within Nightcrawler’s church. The respite is extremely brief since alarms sound off. Kate stays behind while the others charge. She hears a roar and is left facing a tiger.
Domain #30: Sentinel Territories
This storyline is a memorable addition to the annals of the X-Men mythos. Even if it takes place in a deliberately set alternate timeline, Cameron made a huge impression. Chrissie is as heroic as her mother, if not more. Magneto betraying the cause isn’t that surprising but Rachel’s traitorous turn was unexpected. I understand the parallel between the mutants’ plight and that of the tigers’ but having Kate all alone in front of one makes no sense to me. Is this a criticism of her mothering skills? There was the right level of drama and pathos but I believe four issues would have sufficed. [7/10]
X-TINCTION AGENDA #4
“” (20 pages) Marc Guggenheim, Carmine di Giandomenico, Nolan Woodard,VC’s Cory Petit
Cameron Hodge is dead. Long live Cameron Hodge, version 5.0!! He is nigh-unstoppable. The opposing sides start to work in unison but Rachel is still extremely distrustful of Alex. Her mind scan reveals that his cause is just. First casualty: Rictor. Bulletproof, now endowed with the technovirus, manages to hurt Hodge. The mutant hater easily takes out Phoenix. Tabitha explodes, sacrificing herself and destroying a part of Genosha so that Hodge can’t get his creepy fingers on it. Havok fires off his plasma energy. This results in his death as well as Wolfsbane’s. Hodge is permanently out of the picture. Rachel’s psi-scan confirms this. She and the X-Men will mourn the losses later. They must rebuild Genosha. Kludge the Genegineer might be gone but he devised the most devious invention: the regeneration of Hodge’s severed head along with Warlock’s remnants and Triage’s power create a hybrid. This new entity is surprised to be among the living. It’s never over for the Children of the Atom.
Domain #?: Genosha
Can’t say I’m sorry to see this series go. I never warmed up to the art. The division among the merry mutants was unfortunate but realistic. The X-Men will always face formidable foes. Cameron Hodge’s vitriol was difficult enough but with the Phalanx tech animating him, the stakes increase tenfold. Sacrifice impels others to act more selflessly. [6/10]
CAPTAIN MARVEL and the CAROL CORPS #4
“” (19 pages) Kelly Sue DeConnick & Kelly Thompson, Laura Braga w/ Paolo Pantalena, Lee Loughridge, VC’s Joe Caramagna
Captain Marvel and the Banshees take flight against the Thors. Helen and Rhodey remain on solid ground to act as back-up. The plan to distract the hammer wielders works when Helen detonates some bombs in the air. Unfortunately, Cap is distracted by Kit Renner, a newly christened Thor. The Banshees hold their own firing simultaneously at the Thor Corps and succeed in downing them. Cap and Kit exchange blows. Kit pleads with Carol to not explore the void. Carol needs the truth. This is enough to convince Kit to stand down. Kit throws her hammer at her former enforcers. The only way is up for Cap and her squadron. Literally!! The Baroness observes their exploit, cracks a smile, and allows them to proceed. Carol reaches the barrier. Her face is awash in light. She is dumbfounded at what she sees. Too bad we readers can’t share the experience.
Domain #28: Hala Field
Kelly Sue DeConnick writers a love letter to all her collaborators. It is the fondest farewell to a title to which she has devoted her ardent passion for thirty-two issues. The “Higher, further, faster, more” phrase uttered by Helen and the Baroness is a neat nod to Carol’s core. Ms. DeConnick never stopped elevating Captain Marvel as the best of the best. The art team changed for this last issue. Carol has never looked leaner nor meaner. Kit is still a child despite the god-like power within. I was amused by the moustachioed Thor. Hope to see him again! [7/10]
“Queen of the Man-Things” (20 pages) Jason Aaron, Mike Del Mundo, Marco D’Alfonso, VC’s Cory Petit
Arkon just can’t catch a break. One has to admire his indomitable spirit. He simply refuses to go bananas even though he’s been through numerous unimaginable ordeals. It seems like he’s finally rewarded with respite but his homeworld is a mere hallucination. Skull the Slayer still hasn’t accomplished his task. The two slug it out in the swamp when they each experience burning. The Man-Things rise from the murky depths. Their Queen also appears. Fear will bring about the intensity but the flames will purge the tortured planet. The Lady of the Muck and Mire informs Arkon of Morgan LeFay, the baroness of WW who wants his head on a platter. Skull emits false bravado. She sees through all fear. The Swamp Queen is another transplant: none other than Jennifer Kale, friend and ally of the original Man-Thing!! Jennifer wants the two men to fight for her. She purges Skull of his demons. He still maintains a healthy fear. He is redubbed the Redeemer. Arkon flat out refuses and bolts. The madness has hit the fever pitch. He is convinced that he has reached Polemachus. He is mistaken. He is ready to commit suicide by impaling himself with a lightning bolt. Little does he realize that his kingdom is directly underneath Weirdworld, upside down no less!!!
Domain #10: Weirdworld
Jason Aaron has made me worship a former braggadocio with wisps of buffoonery. Arkon aches so much to reach home that I weep with him. There is no shame in him being afraid but to lose his mind would be the ultimate tragedy. I’ve been reading comics for three decades. I should’ve been able to divine the identity of the Queen. She has been in the limelight for quite some time. The art is a never-ending sprawling canvas that exudes beauty and defies all other works. [9/10]
“” (20 pages) Gerry Duggan, Nik Virella, Lee Loughridge, VC’s Clayton Cowles
Ben and Doris Urich have packed their backs and are ready to run from town. An article states that Steve Rogers’ death was from another road gang. Ben states the falsehood of the story but claims that he didn’t write it. Red Wolf and the Widow Barnes convene in Hank Pym’s workshop. The man is conveniently absent. Their tête-à-tête is cut short by Bruce Banner who wants to test his bomb. He asks if they will join him in blowing up Fisk’s casino. Red Wolf wants to stay on task. He will take down the men who deprived his people of the river. The other two will destroy the dam. They hightail it. Banner has reservations about helping Red Wolf but Natasha emphasizes the rottenness within Wilson Fisk. The Suffragettes cause a stir in the town centre. Their spokeswoman is hassled by William Baker. The new sheriff in town defends the lady’s honour. She emphasizes that she need not be saved. Ned Leeds draws a gun but is punched by Carol (Danvers). Bruce and Natasha arrive at the dam and are captured. They are met by Simon Williams, the caretaker of Governor Roxxon’s project. Red Wolf has the perfect opportunity to ambush Bullseye but some stoolie gives away his position. Fisk makes it clear that Bullseye has to rid himself permanently of this pest. The showdown lasts less than a split second. Wolf pulls a sniper move with the bullet hitting the target on the killer’s forehead. How’s that for poetic justice and ultimate irony?? Wolf takes down Elektra. She goads him into offing her. Fisk offers a handsome reward for the man or woman who will bring in the Indian. Fisk is smacked in the face with a stone by Carol. You go, girl!! Grizzly is furious with all his injuries. He’s beating up Red Wolf pretty good when Tony Stark bursts on to the scene in steampunk gear!! He kills the bear-skin wearer and shields Wolf from the volley of bullets. Simon Williams makes Bruce drink the explosive elixir. Williams won’t stop until Banner speaks. The Hulk is on the horizon!
Domain #6: Valley of Doom
My passing interest in Westerns has intensified!! It’s somewhat of a buzzkill that solicitations are released ahead of time. It’d be media-worthy to discover that Red Wolf is headlining his own title without any leakage. The reinterpretation and weaving of the cast is Gerry Duggan’s brilliance. I’m in awe of his versatility when it comes to writing. Nik Virella retains the grainy aesthetic. [8.5/10]
Tags: Marvel Comics, Secret Wars Declassified