DC's 52: Week Twenty-
In Gotham City, the news is reporting the Calendar Man was found knocked out on the roof of the GCPD. The news wonders if it's a sign of the return of the Batman, unaware that the dark avenger in question isn't him, but probably a former patron of Lilith Fair, in Batwoman. We then see the inside of the Batcave, and there's an unexpected guest in there. Supernova's broken in, and he's pulling off sheets over Batman's trophy and display cases. He finds one of the penguin's umbrellas and Jason Todd's Robin costume, but that's not what he's looking for. He finally finds a purple and green gauntlet in a glass case, and we're led to believe it's what he's looking for. Damn, Bruce Wayne has the Infinity Gauntlet? Nope. For those who don't know who does the best job of pulling off a purple and green armor ensemble, I'll remind you. Lex Luthor's power armor is that. And for those unsure, look back to the last time he wore it in Superman/Batman #12. Ed McGuiness' design is identical to the oven mitt in the glass case. But that begs the questions... how does Supernova know where the Batcave is? And why is he there hunting for Lex Luthor's tacky fashion accessories? Lord only knows.
Steel's in Metropolis meanwhile, assisting the fire department in a rescue. He's not having a big pity party for himself for a change about his niece. Of course, his scientist buddy Kala shows up to tell him she found out about Lex's metagene process. He not only can give people metahuman powers, he can take them away just as easily. I wonder if metahuman genes are addictive? Well, at least we know Lex can make John Henry Irons all fleshy whenever he needs to. Ugh. I didn't mean that to sound so homoerotic, but there you have it, folks.
But the main part of this issue takes place out in the far reaches of space with Animal Man, Adam Strange, and Starfire sitting in with Lobo's flock. Living on a large asteroid is hardly the safest way to survive, you know. Tectonic instability, and collisions with other asteroids are going to keep the property values down, for sure. Lobo's followers are about ready to try and lynch him (it'd just make him mad, really) for not using that giant eye he's got to fix things, when an infestation of giant alien locusts hits and starts tearing everyone apart. And yes, that includes Lobo, who while being devoured, swears up a storm. One of the alien patrons of Lobo's fish god picks up the huge green eye and uses it to obliterate a lot of the space locusts, and themself in the process. In spite of the obvious drawbacks of using the eye as a weapon, Starfire picks it up to try next, since the alternative is becoming bug chow.
And then we get an interlude page of a shot in the distance of the meteor field. A giant green alien head with tusks, a glowing computer brain, and one glowing green eye and one empty eye socket sees the glow from the blast across the cosmos, and immediately moves to intercept our heroes.
Lobo regenerates from a pool of his own blood (damn he's smooth) and tells Starfire she may have just doomed everyone there by using the eye. We finally find out what the eye is... the Emerald Eye of Ekron. The giant head, presumably, is Ekron. And he wants it back. And he's going to tear through anything in his path to have it returned to him. Using it let him know where it is... kind of like the One Ring of Sauron. So now they're on the run. And for you DC Universe history types... what do we already know about the Emerald Eye of Ekron? Well, thanks to Wikipedia, I know now. It used to often be seen in the hands of the Emerald Empress, super villainess from the Fatal Five, and enemy of the Legion of Super Heroes. She had no innate super-powers; rather, she employed the powerful mystical item called the Emerald Eye of Ekron, a large sphere that obeyed her mental commands. The Eye could fly and emit blasts of energy, and allowed the Empress to fly as well as survive in space. The Eye's residual energy also gave her, on at least one occasion, super-strength. It caused her to grow to gigantic stature during one battle. The Emerald Empress died in Legion of Super-Heroes (3rd series) #58 when Legionnaire Sensor Girl used her powers of illusion to mask Sarya's presence from the Eye of Ekron. As the Empress' body quickly withered and decomposed, she expressed relief to be free from the Eye's control, indicating both that their symbiotic relationship was unwilling and that the Empress was far older than she appeared. A second Emerald Empress named Cera Kesh first appeared in Legionnaires #2. Her affections spurned by Legion member Sun Boy, Kesh fell under the Emerald Eye's influence and turned to a life of crime with the other members of the Fatal Five. At the same time, Leland McCauley found a second Emerald Eye with which he hoped to turn his girlfriend into the new Emerald Empress. Instead, Cera killed her and gained the power of both Eyes. After the Zero Hour event and the subsequent reboot of the Legion's continuity, a character simply called the 'Empress' appeared, unconnected to the Eye of Ekron (which appeared separately later). Although she had no powers, she was as dangerous as the rest of the Fatal Five, being a sadistic murderess who had taught herself how to kill any known lifeform. The Eye was discovered by Legionnaire Kinetix, but later fell under the control of (or controlled) Shrinking Violet. With the Legion's help, Violet managed to break the Eye's hold on her, but not before she had sent half the team into the past. Eventually, the Eye came into the hands of the Empress. The Empress seemed to have broken the Eye's will, leaving her unequivically in control. The Emerald Eye also appeared in L.E.G.I.O.N., where it was controlled by, or controlled, the L.E.G.I.O.N.naire Garryn Bek.
So it's a dangerous, addictive mystic eyeball removed from a p*ssed off alien giant that lets people survive in deep space, blow stuff up, fly, and maybe grow big. Wonderful. We now will recreate Frodo's journey to Mount Doom with Lobo in space. Way to be mediocre, DC.
Of course, then there's Marvel for me to scrutinize.
Sensational Spider-Man #30-
The effects of Peter's unmasking are still reverberating. Mary Jane and her theatre group are under attack by Swarm, who is currently embodied by a bunch of bees. Bees are scary. Anything that can attack you with its mandibles or its *ss end frightens me. Anyhow, Mary Jane hits the sprinklers, and one random guy with a prop mace and a few weeks of stage combat training smashes Swarm's skull in when all the bees wash off of the skeleton underneath. Mary Jane takes down the Chameleon, and now this guy. Man, she's not just a pretty face, is she?
And speaking of the Chameleon, he's getting geared up to pull a fast one. He fights off Electro at a museum, and realizes that somebody is sending his rogues gallery after him. He calls Black Cat to help him out, but Peter gets distracted across town by the kidnapping of Normie Osborn by the Molten Man, Will-O-Wisp, and the Scarecrow. While Peter's doing that, Aunt May is being escorted around by employees of Stark Enterprises in Iron Man armors. Their orders are to stay with her everywhere, except when Peter's around. Thus, Chameleon makes himself look like Peter, and the wankers bail out to leave poor Aunt May with the Chameleon. I bet he's going to go into Stark Tower and just get his vengeance by catching her shacking up with Jarvis and then post it on the internet. Now that's what I would call revenge. Getting Peter's dear aunt on Gilfs.com. My take on the whole issue? Too much going on in here. Needed to be spread out into a four issue story. Just my opinion.
Logan walks right into Damage Control and intimidates his way into a meeting with the company president about how their C.E.O., Walter Declun, gave Nitro the Mutant Growth Hormone he needed to be able to blow up Stamford. She throws the C.E.O. under the bus, before he shows up to have Logan removed from the building. Wolverine isn't going to give up... he gets a hold of Forge and gets him to hack into the Damage Control database and finds documents to prove that the whole company is profiting off of the conflict. And so, Logan is faced with a hard task... how do you kill a corporation? Easy... you hit them in the wallet until it can't hold any more change. A few guerrilla strikes against company holdings threaten the company, and make the news.
He stops by the Xavier Institute, and gets an earful from Emma Frost and Cyclops about how he didn't listen to them and has gotten WAY too involved in business that isn't theirs. Logan, in a great moment of cattiness, drops the bombshell to Scott that Emma used to polish parts of Tony Stark's armor, mainly the codpiece, and that the whole point of being a hero is you DO get involved. He made sure Nitro was served with some kind of justice, and now he's found who's behind the whole Stamford incident and is going to make them suffer for it. Cyclops trying to bury his head in the sand is, "Enough to have Jean spinning in her grave. That is, if she stayed in it for more'n five minutes." Ladies and gentleman, Wolverine delivers the burn of the week.
Anyhow, Damage Control is desperate to lure Logan into a trap before he ruins the whole company. They buy the Roxxon company's Long Island Offices, figuring Logan will immediately strike there. He does, knowing he's walking into a trap. It ends up that Damage Control doesn't just clean up superhero/supervillain fights... they salvage technology from the battle if they can. Logan ends up fighting a group of armored opponents whose suits are made of SHIELD weaponry, Stark Industries Tech., and Mandroid Armor. Oh yeah, and they also have saw blades similar to Whirlwind's... except they are made of adamantium, and can behead even Wolverine. And in fact, one of them grapples Logan and cuts halfway through his neck on the cliffhanger panel of the issue. Next issue... Logan and John Wayne Bobbit go out for drinks when they realize they damn near have something in common.
X-Men: Civil War #3-
Speaking of disappointing Civil War titles, this one has been miserable from the start. The mutant known as Johnny Dee is being used by General Lazer to cause strife amongst the X-Men, Bishop and the 198. How? Johnny Dee has a chest that looks like Cthulu, and with its help he can make psychic voodoo dolls to control people he's touched. At the end of last issue, he made Cyclops try and use all the force of his optic blasts on Bishop. Beast stops him from killing Bishop, and he gets rid of all that stored energy before it kills him by shooting it straight up. Sadly, Bishop will be billed for the Sirius satellites he destroyed.
The rest of the original X-Men take on SHIELD, Sabra, and Mircomax. Cyclops comes to and realizes someone's been in his head... and the 198 know it too. Lorelei, the ex-stripper and Medusa knock-off in the 198 now reveals her suspicions to Domino that Johnny Dee made Magma kill Absolon Mercator, and he can make voodoo dolls of people. In fact, he uses that moment to get the 198 to start fighting amongst one another, taking control of Outlaw, and Lorelei in turn to attack Shatterstar and Domino. He fortunately can only control a person at a time, so things aren't so imposing. They fight him off, but not before he learns what Caliban already knows... there are still live weapons of mass destruction inside the facility.
Val Cooper and Colonel Reyes find out through an old boyfriend of Cooper's that General Lazer has Johnny Dee in custody, and has been alone with him through the chaos. They realize what's going on, and go to place Lazer under arrest, but not before he pulled off one nasty trick. It's too little, too late though at the battle in Nevada... Shatterstar goes outside and skewers Micromax on one of his blades. Hey, he's a D-List hero... like you didn't see that one coming. Bishop and Cyclops both realize they've been manipulated, and everyone ceases fire. Sadly, Lazer has already locked the 198 inside the facility, and turned on the self-destruct codes. They'll be okay, because Toad's in there. They can't kill Toad. Ray Park got him too much street cred to have him killed off. Cyclops will burrow into the mountain with Bishop's help next issue, or Iceman will freeze the door to make it fragile and easy to break. Just watch. It'll happen next issue.
Civil War #4-
The big daddy of them all. After much "delay" (quotes for sarcasm), we have this issue bringing us back to the big melee that thanks to the last issue of Cable/Deadpool, we know results in a fatality. Oh, that and Thor just showed up. Or someone who resembles the Odinson. Even though he, and all of Asgard were destroyed. Captain America's crew is having their *sses handed to them by Thor, who is completely sadistic and ready to kill from the minute he showed up. They're all trying to retreat before something terrible happens, but Thor's might is keeping them off balance.
Iron Man is using all his tech to beat Captain America into submission, favoring a sonic device to make everyone have the mother of all headaches and fall to the ground writhing in pain, but Cap is refusing to surrender. Hercules finally pops to his feet, and nails Tony with an oil tanker, giving them all a chance to regroup. With Captain America unconscious, Falcon's in charge. He flies Cap to safety, and tells Cable to access Cloak's mind telepathically so they can still have him teleport everyone to safety. Everybody goes to regroup on Cloak... except Goliath, who takes a second to try and tangle with Thor. He lasts all of a panel before the Odinson doth say thee, "NAY!" and sends a lightning bolt through his heart, instantly killing him.
*Interlude #1... okay. The "death" of one of the heroes was pretty predictable. There are already two other size altering Marvel universe characters out there in Hank Pym, and Atlas from the Thunderbolts. Goliath has never really been fleshed out as a personality. He was just that big black dude. And, from the minute he was featured in the book as the only C-Lister involved... you knew he was screwed. Plus, he's the black guy. They always die first in the movies. Mark Millar loves to script his comics like movies, after all. Thus, he went with the Hollywood stereotype. Goliath, you will be missed. But not as much as Clint Barton.*
Thor goes to use his godlike power over lightning to send more bolts up the Resistance's hoo-hahs, but the Invisible Woman puts up a force shield to stop it before it can, and tells them to retreat while they can. From what I can see, those who escape are as follows: Falcon, Luke Cage, Captain America, Cable, Dagger, Cloak, Hercules, Daredevil, Patriot, Hawkeye (Young Avenger), and Stature. Reed Richards speaks to Thor, and says some code words that presumably put him into a catatonic sleep. Hank Pym's p*ssed. Seems Reed was supposed to have given him "directives" that would make him "just like the OLD Thor". Reed tries to explain himself... more to Sue. But let's face it... Reed just had a science project kill a hero. He's in the doghouse for like... at least a week. For now, though, he has to look over "Thor". The Pro-Registration team tries to figure out what went wrong... Hank Pym admits to helping "create" Thor, and having him blow a hole through one of his oldest friends as a result. Spider-Man doesn't keep too good of a poker face, and starts to wonder out loud if he's on the right side. Hank says everything I need to know then... "I still can't believe we cloned a god. Did you know that Tony had been holding onto that strand of Thor's hair since the first meeting of the Avengers? What kind of man combs his furniture for hair follicles and skin cells? I just can't understand why our Thor-clone killed a man. Is he missing a human consciousness? Do we need to fuse him with a Donald Blake or Jake Olson to make him function properly?" Reed Richards pulls out an instrument and starts drilling into Thor's ear. But... let me go to another interlude to discuss my take on this...
*Interlude #2: A F***ING CLONE? GAH! Mark Millar, what the F*** are you thinking? They cloned Spider-Man! Remember how well that went? Remember the legions of fans who clamored for the death of all Peter Parker clones? Now you went and cloned the Mighty Thor, in one of the greatest clusterf*** plot developments I've ever seen. The implications of this call are so mind-numbingly jacked-up that I don't even know where to begin. Let's see...
1) How come Tony doesn't clone Hawkeye? Or any other dead hero? How about that?
2) Does Tony even give a sh*t about sixth day violations or playing God himself? Maybe he ought to read, oh, I don't know, motherf***ing Frankenstein, for a minute. Even when he's sauced beyond belief, he isn't this headstrong.
3) Cloning superhumans can be dangerous. If they're mentally unstable, like say, the one Spider-Clone Kane, they're going to go on a killing spree. Would it make sense to do a trial run on somebody NOT with the strength of a God? Like say... Uncle Ben or Gwen Stacy? Better yet... Why not clone all the kids who got killed at Stamford and give them back to their parents, and just lie to them and say the New Warriors must have teleported them or sent them through a time portal or something? Wouldn't that make more sense?
4) You didn't even just clone a superhuman. You cloned a f***ing God. But you picked the one that used to be in your running crew. Why? I just want to know, Tony, why you didn't jack the Shroud of Turin while you were at it and also get a Jesus-clone to head out and kick Hercules in the junk. Because that would have made as much sense.
5) Hey, Tony. Don't you have a rule about not handling things that are... oh... MAGIC? So you clone an Asgardian. A guy who is, by definition, a magical deity. Magic. It's that one thing you hate, because your dumb drunk *ss has no idea how to control it. Just like you can't control this monstrosity.
6) Couldn't you have just found out what happened to Thunderstrike if you wanted a Thor knockoff?
7) Let us think about what went wrong with Thor's behavior for a moment. First, is he worthy? Is that Mjolinor, or just a knockoff that Tony gave him that's tech-inspired? Because slaughtering people standing up for their personal freedoms doesn't sound like a worthy act to me. Furthermore, I have a theory or two. I still think Loki's involved. See, Tony Stark just cloned the last Asgardian. What if the Thor-Clone is embodying the entire spirit of Asgard, both its good and bad elements? It's a vicious warrior's realm, when it comes down to it. Maybe he's just got the mind of a stupid kid because he doesn't have centuries of experience on his side. There's no way we can be sure. But I'm still banking on Loki being a part of this, somehow.*
The Resistance meets to figure out their next move. They lose a few members, but pick up sentiment from tons more. It's personal now, and a lot of people are going to rally around Goliath's death, and half the team getting thrown into the Number Forty-Two Complex. Among the people who leave, though, are Nighthawk, Stature, and Cable. Some mysterious guy in a ski mask watches them go. No way we can know who this is yet. But why would Cable leave? Before going, he tells Cap he figures it's a lost cause saying, "The way I see it, they can do anything they like now that they got Thor on their side." Wait... I feel an interlude coming on again.
*Interlude #3: Let me get this straight... Cable just gave up. He finds this conflict unwinnable, and irrelevant. Uh... Mark Millar, I want to ask, "Have you ever f***ing read an issue of Cable, or any Cable stories before?" Seriously, dude. Cable isn't afraid of gods. He's tangled with the Hulk before. He's battled armies in the future whose capabilities are simply terrifying for modern man to even comprehend. And his nemesis, through all the centuries has been En Sabah Nur, aka Apocalypse. An immortal, body-shifting mutant who is empowered further by Celestial technology. Yes, I said Celestial. And if Cable doesn't back down from their sh*t, he's not going to p*ss his pants and run because one Asgardian deity gets his panties in a bunch. Especially when he's got Hercules as his wingman. I'm not buying this motivation at all.*
We flash to Goliath's funeral, and for some reason, he didn't shrink upon his death. Feeling guilty, Tony Stark paid for the funeral expenses, which took up thirty-eight burial plots. While they're getting set to bury him, Ms. Sharpe, the mother who spit in Tony's face after Stamford walks up and lets him know she's happy with what he's done. She even gives him an Iron Man action figure and tells him it belonged to her deceased son. Tony was his favorite hero. She wants to remind Tony why he's doing this. Son of a... some MILF who spit on him says thanks for killing a hero, Tony, keep up the good work, and he's going to be right back at it? My lord this is getting bad.
Meanwhile at the Baxter Building, Sue Richards gets some last minute booty, says goodbye to the kids, and leaves Reed for being a fascist, soulless pr*ck. Johnny Storm goes with her. They're going underground, and going to find Captain America. With Ben Grimm leaving the country, too, Reed's all alone with the kids. That should make for some good quality time. Hey Franklin, want to help me make weapons to dominate the resistance? Grab a wrench, boy, and lets get to it. Oh, and don't try to just warp reality to fix this. That's the easy way, son.
And he does get back to work, apparently the government has a program in place to create more heroes... to enslave the old ones who won't obey. That's what that "fifty states initiative" thing we've heard about once or twice is. Since those new heroes aren't ready to get shipped out for combat yet, they go with plan B... mobilize a new incarnation of the Thunderbolts team. They're all being "chipped and tagged", and sent out to capture Captain America, before immediately being returned to jail. Uh... why does this not sound like some of the rank and file folks that Zemo's been catching in the Thunderbolts comic? Because they're not. Our last panel shows us a squad that is to be led by Songbird... but it includes Jack O'Lantern, Lady Deathstrike, the Jester (I think), Venom (Mac Gargan), Bullseye, and the Taskmaster. I'm trying to decide if this is a worse idea than cloning Thor. Nope, Thor-The-Sequel is still lamer.
So what did we learn this week? We learned that Gollum is going to show up to take the Emerald Eye of Ekron at some point. We discovered that the U.S. is so bad at finding WMDs, that we can forget we have them in Nevada and have them accidentally blow up mutants. We also learned that Lex Luthor can turn a brother from soft flesh to hard as steel and back. Man that's just dirty. We found out that Tony Stark is still holding on to ideas from when he was still drunk off his *ss that amount to not just playing God, but playing with them. And finally, we learned that Mark Millar may have been writing while still under the effects of his medication from the illness that caused the "delay" on Civil War. Oy vey. I waited for this?
I need six days to get over this disaster. See you next week in the WORST...BLOG...EVER.