Super six!! The doors are slowly closing as five weeks remain before the ‘official’ end of the tie-ins. Too bad SECRET WARS proper runs until December. Maybe that’s a good thing. Five bid farewell while the sixth still has another mile or so to go.
GHOST RACERS #4 (of 4)
“” (20 pages) Felipe Smith, Juan Gedeon, Tamra Bonvillain, VC’s Cory Petit
Gabe Reyes is very much an unwilling participant in Arcade’s Killiseum. He’s now been dubbed ‘Baby’ by the crazed entertainer. He is overwhelmed by the situation and completely inept. He’s flying by the seat of his pants as he dodges the other competitors. Two racers make their debut: ‘Big Boy’ T-Rider Rex. Robbie re-materializes much to Arcade’s selfish delight since he’s a ratings grab. Gabe is a Spirit of Ignition much like his brother. Robbie begins the task of releasing the others from Zadkiel’s grip since he himself is free. Gabe is the winner but out of spite, Zadkiel swoops down and snatches him. Robbie concentrates and swaps places with his bro. He transforms into the Ghost Rider. In the process, Eli transfers from him to the demon. Game over! Arcade is next. He can’t worm his way out of this one!! Alejandra uses the Penance Stare to burn right through his eyes :0 Eli opens a portal for all of them to cross. The Ghost Racers are no more. They are now and forever more Spirits of Vengeance!!
Domain #19: Doomstadt (Killiseum)
Excessive alliteration: “Runaway racer Roberto R. Reyes” as enthusiastically announced by Arcade.
Ride or cry: “Burn eternal! Ride eternal! And forever unleash your unrelenting wrath upon the wicked and the corrupt!” – Carter ‘Satan Stomper’ Slade
Felipe Smith provided a neat little twist by making Gabe an official part of the crew, imbued with the same hellish energies as his brother. This isn’t attributed to genetics but Gabe has inherited the burden nonetheless. Juan Gedeon is a madman at the pencils. Everything is so frenzied and jagged. The Racers live up to their fast-paced lifestyle. Even free of Zadkiel’s influence, they are fast and furious. Ingenious combination of horror show and Hot Wheels™. Natch! Tamra Bonvillain goes wild with explosive orange, crackling yellow, and blistering blue. Cory Petit makes his letters loud and clear! Literally!! The raging red as well as the guttural sounds resonate the rawness. There is an ad to pick up previous copies of ALL-NEW GHOST RIDER. Will the newly-minted Spirits appear sooner or later? [7/10]
M.O.D.O.K. ASSASSIN #5 (of 5)
“” (20 pages) Christopher Yost, Amilcar Pinna, Terry Pallot, Rachelle Rosenberg, VC’s Travis Lanham
**This issue takes place before THORS #1 and SECRET WARS #4**
That little tidbit piques my curiosity. Angela hasn’t made her presence in THORS but she has her own series and appeared in GUARDIANS of KNOWHERE. The reference to SW #4 is Sheriff Strange’s passing. Mordo came up empty on all ends. Mordo’s plan was a simple one: down a Thor to lure Sheriff Strange to Killville to investigate the incident. He wanted to replace Stephen as Doom’s number one lawman. Modie ruined it all by falling in love with Angela instead of killing her. He is mocked for being smitten with her and for not living up to his namesake. He surprises Mordo and Clea by bringing out the Sentinels, all under his mental domination. They rip apart the Mindless Ones. Angela comes to and zaps Clea. She uses her hammer to cleave through more minions. Mordo blasts Modie’s face. This enrages the floating module to the point that he uses his chainsaw to rid the Baron of his left arm. A good old-fashioned head-butt [appropriately] puts him down for the count. The Thor Corps arrive to retrieve Mordo. He still has some fight in him. As he casts a spell, he is vaporized by their combined lightning. Modie is to be arrested but Angela speaks for him. He is granted clemency as well as a promotion. He doesn’t get the girl but he has her name. Life goes on for the big giant head as he does the only thing he knows how: kill!!
Domain #34: Killville
It was painfully embarrassing for M.O.D.O.K. to make a fool of himself awaiting a return of affection. Angela’s question, followed by smacking him, and finishing with dropping her name and a coy smile make this a complicated situation indeed!! Modie may be out of a career sooner than later. He’s going to run out of bad guys to murder. Boredom will hit him hard. The faces are really warped, aside from Angela’s and Clea’s. The superior sex must retain their attractiveness. There’s a radical two-page spread of the Sentinel’s attack. Mordo’s face coming apart is somewhat hilarious but disturbing. The use of black for Mordo’s blood is indicative of his rottenness. Very little gore but plenty of flashes!! [7.5/10]
“” (20 pages) Dennis Hopeless, Javier Garrón, Chris Sotomayor, VC’s Joe Sabino
This is the endgame. Do or die. Fight hellfire with hellfire. The Goblin Queen can’t stomach an alliance with Sinister. He was her tormentor for half her life. She lunges at him. When that fails, she uses her telepathy on Boom Boom who blows up the twisted geneticist. The X-Men proceed in offing all of the Boom Boom succubus clones. Poor Tabitha! To be used in such a horrid way. Darkchild rains fire on their parade. She is much too powerful to be thwarted. Her demon hordes take out the merry mutants. Climax: Piotr against his sister. There’s no going back. Darkchild manipulates him well enough, appearing to be the helpless innocent sweetie before the transformation. Colossus falls for that trick twice. Domino gives him a much-needed assist. Darkchild has the upper hand. She has cut through her brother’s steel hide and infected his innards. Piotr finally mans up when he sees Domino in grave danger. With the Soulsword, he cleaves the baroness in two. He accepts that Illyana was long gone before the diabolical possession. Boom Boom comes topside. She informs the duo that all the X-Men seem to have perished. Colossus uses the Sword to teleport the three of them elsewhere. Epilogue: Madelyne and Nathan come across Darkchild’s oozing corpse. Maddie decides to jump into the flames. She re-emerges with chainmail and horns. The pesky Bamf monster is at her side.
Domain #37: Limbo
It took me five issues to notice this: is Illyana naked?!? She has cloth wrapped around the arms and legs and spiked kneecaps and elbow pads. Aside from that, she’s red all over. MMMM. Dennis Hopeless grants Piotr a reprieve: his five-year ordeal has finally ended. He has given himself penance. Sinister came and went too quickly but that is perfectly fine since he was a faux deus ex machina. I’m curious about the X-Men’s fate. Did they all die? Javier Garrón really outdid himself cramming as many demons in one panel as humanly possible. The tearing asunder of Illyana is so cathartic for Piotr. Lots of light colour for such a dark story. The pale blue glow of the Soulsword is an obvious contrast to the intense red energies. One threat ends but another takes its place. [6/10]
“Kelly’s Heroes” (14 pages)
The Ten-Sentinel is fully active and on a rampage. Wolverine rescues two young men from a crumbling ceiling at the X-Museum. Psylocke unleashes the Warwolves on the multi-faced metal monster. Senator Kelly’s personal guard wants to have her surrender but he is outgunned by Cable and Deadpool. X-Force, X-Men, and Rej-X all converge. Each has a different task: ensuring Kelly’s safety, evacuating the civilians, and taking down the mutant hunter. Wolverine breaks free of Nova’s control when he pops his claws to save some civilians. Jean uses the Phoenix Force to face off against Cassandra. The truth comes out: Prof. X, in the Onslaught persona, rips apart Shadow King from his twin sister’s body!! In the mêlée¸ Gambit is wounded putting Rogue in a tizzy. The two psychic titans get ready to rumble.
“Evolution” (16 pages)
Caliban gives mouth-to-mouth to Gambit. He’s all clear. There will be no fairy tale for him nor Rogue. She tosses the wedding ring and flies off to fight. Charles is overwhelmed. Psylocke, Cable, and Jean lend their mental might to his. Nova tells Cyclops that the X-Sentinel can be defeated. Kelly has the shutdown codes. All that is needed is a precise laser beam into the machine’s receiver. Cyke can’t oblige because he fires concussive-force blasts. Jubilee eagerly appears with a mega-sized gun. Shadow King is bested in the astral plane. Jubilee lives out her video gaming skills IRL before she blacks out. She awakens to find herself surprisingly alive. Wolvie dismantled the X-Sentinel bit by bit. Jean is still going on vacay with Scott. Gambit continues to flirt with Rogue. Chamber makes Jube’s heart aflutter. Storm is given leadership of the X-Men. Epilogue one: Cassandra comes across a mutant with magnetic powers. He goes by Joseph. His secret is safe with her. Epilogue two: Apocalypse convenes with his horsemen – Baron Kelly is in cahoots with the evolution-obsessed force of destruction!! The others in the circle are Bastion, Exodus, and Mystique. Apocalypse wants to take over Westchester and enslave mutants and humans alike!!
Domain #33: Westchester
Buy this issue or I’ll rip up your copies of X-MEN #1! Meta-message to the extreme!! The billboard displaying the iconic Jim Lee cover is partially destroyed.
Don’t knock it til you try it ;-) Gambit didn’t mind one bit Caliban giving him CPR. In fact, he calls him ‘Hot Lips’. I just thought I’d add that to the speculation that Remy might be bisexual.
It was revealed this past week that X-MEN ’92 has gained on-going status as the All-New All-Different Marvel initiative extends to Feb. 2016. This definitely has fans jumping for joy. The cover alone is an homage to the title card showing opposing forces. Scott Koblish maintains the animated vibe especially having Jubilee pull the trigger. The Phoenix emblem on Jean’s forehead had me shuddering! Apocalypse looks superbly menacing as do his cronies. If I never see Cassandra Nova again, it’ll be too soon. I want to wipe that permanent smirk off her face. Generation X is subtly introduced at the end. [7/10]
E is for EXTINCTION #4
“Supernova” (20 pages) Chris Burnham & Dennis Culver, Ramon Villalobos, Ian Herring, VC’s Clayton Cowles
Double dose of Cassandra Nova. YAY! Not really :| Jean’s hatching from the Phoenix Egg is short-lived. Nova has control of her body. She and Charles have been waging a private wear for years to see who gets to guide the red-haired beauty. Scott tries to appeal to Jean since they are happily married. Nova scoffs at this and blasts him to smithereens :0 Nova’s possession of the younger mutants makes things harried for the veterans. Emma simply loses the will to live. Dust suffocates her with sand. Beak and Angel’s three children have brass knuckles and a gun between them. The Stepford Cuckoos rip apart Beast’s brain. Basilisk blasts himself after learning of Ernst’s crush. Logan tells Charles to mind-link with him. His fervent love for Jean should be able to set her loose. The pairing of the two men creates Weapon X. Jean rematerializes. She reciprocates Logan’s passionate kiss. The two impale each other à la Romeo and Juliet-ish. In the psychic plane, the astral forms of Cassandra and Charles cancel out each other. The human couple expecting, introduced in issue one, learn that their child will be a mutant. They choose two stalwart names: James for their son; Jean for their daughter. At the former Atomic Institute, Xorn is seen harnessing the Phoenix Force. He is content that order within the universe is maintained. He states that only Grey remains.
Domain #32: Mutopia
Whew!! The outrageousness was upped another notch with this final issue. Mssrs. Burnham and Culver sure embraced and expanded the weirdness of Grant Morrison’s lengthy run. Sex appeal was twisted with Nova showing a succubus-like form with flesh aplenty. The Phoenix covering her bosom is a distraction!! The merging of the Stepford Cuckoos is frightening and trippy. The black-and-white renditions of the astral plane are the best way to illustrate the invisible. The old guard is out. The new mutants take their place. [6.5/10]
The Iron Baron Strucker rallies the people. He emphasizes the good that Zola is doing. Captain Hydra fuels the lying machine further. Ellie and Ian become fast friends. They are practically siblings. The trauma of losing her parents is still fresh but her survival takes precedence. Despair kicks in. She is overwhelmed by Zola’s influence on the entire populace. Ian knows of a weak spot, since the mad scientist is his actual father: they need to trap him within one single body. Speaking of traps, they are easily let into his complex. Zola tries to strike a bargain with Ellie – she should give up Nomad for his regenerative blood. This will secure her a spot within his organization. To seal the deal, he possesses her deceased dad’s body. Ellie doesn’t fall for it. She loses it by slashing at him. She is flailed about and is knocked into a giant test tube. She becomes infected with whatever liquid was there. Nomad bests his father and manages to trap his essence in the dearly departed Steve Rogers’ body. Ian is enraged at Ellie’s demise. ‘Steve’ knocks him over the edge. Nomad hangs over a gargoyle. Captain Hydra’s Avengers loom over him – Baron Blitzschlag, Chancellor Cassandra, Dr. Mindbubble, Iron Baron, Iron Nail, and Venom.
Domain #26: Hydra Empire
One more issue before Rick Remender’s official departure from Marvel. He consciously clumps the various plot threads from his work on CAPTAIN AMERICA. I’m guessing Ellie will survive her ordeal and eventually be brought to the mainstream MU. Ian is definitely no sidekick here. He has succeeded his adopted father in heroism and ideology. The lad has a lot of fight in him!! The regenerative properties in his system are secondary to his courage. Zola is a nuisance that refuses to crawl away. The brains of the operation are the powerful ones. Zola resembles Uatu in the two-page spread. He’s taken on a less menacing mien, most likely to throw off the rebels. The blue in Steve’s costume clashes with Ian’s. There’s unintentional merging were it not for other distinguishing touches. Ian stands alone. No allies. No country. No dimension. [7/10]