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Mighty Week of Marvel #16

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There are significant developments in the Marvel mutantverse this week, and none of them look very good for our harassed heroes. In Uncanny X-Men #504, Colossus is pining for his lost love Kitty Pryde, while Emma Frost takes a walk through the deepest recesses of Cyclops’s mind in order to learn what he’s been hiding from her… along the way encountering his mental impressions of all the hot mutant ladies the X-Men’s uptight fearless leader has ever lusted after!

Plus, Angel and Beast recruit a new X-Man in the shape of the obscure Golden Age crimefighter Dr Nemesis! Meanwhile, the Red Queen-apparently Cyclops’s supposedly dead ex-wife, Madelyne Pryor-continues to lurk in the background furthering her schemes…

Continuity: Dr Nemesis (no relation to the later Giant Man villain) first appeared in Lightning Comics #6 (1941), and had a short career as a Golden Age crimefighter. It has since been revealed (in Invaders vol II #3, 1993) that he was the silent partner of Phineas Horton, creator of the original android Human Torch, as well as the creator of the android superhero Volton. Later (Invaders vol II, again) a disillusioned Dr Nemesis-going by the name ‘Dr Death’-briefly worked for the Nazis as the leader of the group ‘Battle Axis’, which also included Volton.

Left for dead by his own android creation when Volton learned his true nature, the Doctor evidently survived and returned to his original name and mission, though he still seems somewhat unstable. Kitty Pryde apparently died in Giant Size Astonishing X-Men #1. And while Cyclops has always been rather reserved around women (unless they’re redheads) at least one of his ‘fantasy girls’ was almost something more; he enjoyed a brief flirtation with Psylocke in early issues of X-Men vol II in the early ‘90’s.

Darwin is in trouble in X-Factor #37, since he’s still in the hands of the Karma Project. Madrox and the gang are on the trail, but Siryn has bigger problems back home, since Valerie Cooper and the Office of National Emergency have come for her and her unborn baby. Cooper almost wins Siryn over but the makes the mistake of mentioning the death of Siryn’s father, Banshee-who Siryn is still convinced is alive. Cue yet another fight. The issue ends with a double cliffhanger, as the team finally find Darwin and a lot more trouble than they bargained for…while Siryn’s situation takes a turn for the dramatic!

Continuity: Valerie Cooper first appeared in Uncanny X-Men #176 (1983) and has a long history of trying to control superhumans; she was the boss of Freedom Force (the briefly legit former Brotherhood of Evil Mutants), hired Forge to create the Neutralizer weapon which robbed Storm of her powers, and was one of the Government officials who took the Captain America identity away from Steve Rogers and hired John Walker (USAgent) to replace him.

She also ran the X-Factor organization for awhile in its previous incarnation as a US Government strike force, and was instrumental in establishing the O.N.E, so it is hardly surprising that she doesn’t inspire a lot of trust. Coincidentally (given the events currently underway in X-Men: Worlds Apart) she was also a former host of the Shadow King.
Banshee died in X-Men: Deadly Genesis #3 (2006).

Meanwhile, X-Men: Legacy #218 finds Wolverine and Charles Xavier searching for Wolverine’s estranged son, Daken, who is in the hands of the Hellfire Club’s Sebastian Shaw and his new telepath-Claudine, the ‘daughter’ of Mr. Sinister. Can Xavier free Daken from his psychic conditioning? And even if he does, will Daken ever be more than the homicidal maniac he’s become?

In X-Men: World’s Apart #2, Storm continues her fight to free her husband, the Black Panther, from the clutches of the Shadow King. The evil psychic entity has possessed the Panther and through him taken control of Wakanda, leaving only Storm and the young mutant Nezhno free and aware of what has happened.

Continuity: The Shadow King first appeared in a flashback tale in Uncanny X-Men #117 (1979), set during Storm’s childhood-though at that time, he was possessing the form of the mutant telepath Amahl Farouk. Supposedly, Charles Xavier’s confrontation with Farouk (the Shadow King was not revealed to be a separate entity for some years) was what prompted him to form the X-Men.

More drama, disruption and distress for the younger X-Men in (predictably) Young X-Men #8, in which Dust is apparently dying, Ink is apparently not a mutant, and Graymalkin is apparently talking to himself. Oh, and there’s a new group of bad guys in town-the Y Men, who received their powers from the same source as Ink; a mutant tattoo artist!

Back in the mainstream, non mutant MU, Norman Osborn is cleaning house in Thunderbolts #126. It appears Norman, now a national hero thanks to his actions during Secret Invasion, is set on cashing in on his newfound popularity by grabbing political power for himself. Trouble is, Songbird, Penance and Radioactive Man (the only moderately heroic Thunderbolts left) are in a position to cause him trouble-so, Norman being Norman, he’s decided to dispose of them!

Time itself is under threat thanks to the temporally displaced Invaders in Avengers/Invaders #6, and the New Avengers must return the wartime heroes to the past. Trouble is, first they have to figure out how and why they were transported into the present. The android Human Torch has other priorities, though.

He’s escaped from his imprisonment in the SHIELD Helicarrier and discovered that the Life Model Decoys, SHIELD’s disposable android agents, were created from Phineas Horton’s designs. Now, the Torch is intent on freeing the LMD’s from their slavery, even if it means destroying SHIELD and the Mighty Avengers in the process. But is the Torch really in control of the situation, or are the LMD’s simply using him for their own ends? And Toro visits his own grave…

Continuity: The Human Torch was created by Phineas Horton in Marvel Comics #1 (1939), and was apparently the first android ever created (ironically, given his name, he was never human). Later accounts have added to his back-story, establishing that James Bradley (Dr Nemesis) helped design him, and that Horton’s designs were used to create other androids such as the villainous Adam II; nonetheless, the connection with the LMD’s is a new one.
Toro perished in Sub-Mariner #14 (1969).

Marc Spector is still a wanted man in Moon Knight #24, while it’s Ghost Rider vs Ghost Rider as Johnny Blaze turns the penance stare on Danny Ketch in Ghost Rider # 29. Rampage is back and out for blood in Punisher War Journal #25, but it looks like his grudge match with Frank Castle will have to wait until after the Secret Invasion is sorted out. Meanwhile, the Merc with a Mouth takes on zombies in Deadpool #4, War Machine takes on the Skrulls in Iron Man #35 (in a direct lead-in to War Machine #1), and in Fantastic Four #561, a member of the team dies…

Seems like there’s never a dull moment in the Marvel Universe these days.

Panel of the week: Avengers/Invaders #6, page 4

The first of the Marvels gets ready to prove he’s still the best. Numbers aren’t everything, Ms Marvel…

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