Mighty Week of Marvel #31

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There’s plenty going on in both the ongoing Dark Reign and War of Kings crossover storylines this week, but first, let’s look in on some of the bigger names…

Hank Pym and company take on the Fantastic Four in Mighty Avengers #26, as Reed Richards attempts to stop Hank from getting his hands on a potentially dangerous piece of high technology on the not entirely unjustifiable grounds that Pym is a borderline nutcase. In the end though, he relents when Pym shows him the big secret he’s been hiding, to which the aforementioned gizmo is the key-but sadly, we the readers have another thirty days to wait to find out what it is!

Meanwhile, Jarvis voices his concerns about Pym’s heavily hinted at and now confirmed relationship with Jocasta, the robotic Avenger who has the brain patterns of Pym’s dead ex-wife. Oh, and Amadeus Cho-supposedly the smartest teen on the planet-has his head handed to him by Reed Richards’ two year old daughter, Valeria. Serves him right, I think, since Cho is undoubtedly the most arrogant character in the Marvel Universe!

Continuity: Jocasta was created by Ultron, Hank Pym’s robotic ‘son’, in Avengers #162 (1977). Ultron intended her to be his mate, and formed her personality from a copy of the brain pattern of Janet Van Dyne, the Wasp-Pym’s then wife and by extension, possibly, Ultron’s ‘mother’. Hence Jarvis’s concern at the relationship between Pym and Jocasta; not only is she effectively a copy of Pym’s dead wife, but from Jocasta’s point of view, Pym could be considered her grandfather!

Valeria Richards being revealed to be two years old is problematic as she was born in Fantastic Four #54 (2002) and this would suggest that two years have passed in Marvel time in the last seven of ours. Franklin Richards, Valeria’s brother, however, was born in 1968 and is apparently still only about seven or eight years old according to a remark made by the Thing during the Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four limited series (2008).

The Young Avengers show their displeasure at the new teen group using their name in Dark Reign: Young Avengers #2. The new ‘Young Avengers’ are apparently not in it for the good deeds but for the sake of ‘art’, which is worrying enough for our genuine young heroes (who give them an ultimatum, try out for the real team or disappear). They would almost certainly be even more worried though, if they knew that the new team is being mentally influenced by the new Enchantress…and that one of their members, Melter, is the son of veteran super villain Princess Python!

It’s worth noting that the code names of four of the six new ‘Young Avengers’-Melter, Enchantress, Executioner and Egghead-formerly belonged to now deceased members of the Masters of Evil. Princess Python has been turning up in various books in the last year or two, and was unexpectedly revealed to have been married to fellow villain Stilt Man (Punisher War Journal #4) and later the Gibbon (Punisher War Journal #16). Her having a teenaged son, though, has seemingly come out of nowhere!

Someone is trying to drive Hawkeye crazy in Dark Reign: Hawkeye #3, or possibly that should be ‘drive him crazier’. Everywhere Norman Osborn’s avenging archer looks, he sees the assassin Bullseye taunting him-which is something of a problem since the man currently in the Hawkeye costume is Bullseye himself!

In desperation, he goes to team psychiatrist Karla Sofen (AKA Moonstone, or Ms Marvel depending on who you believe) for help, but eventually realizes that his foe is no self generated delusion-just in time to be attacked by an army of Bullseye’s. Meanwhile, Front Line reporter Ben Urich has discovered a link between Bullseye, a fake terrorist group and a murdered politician, and is getting close to discovering just what is really going on. I only wish the rest of us were…

Continuity: Bullseye has a long history of mental problems dating back to Daredevil #169(1981) in which he suffered from the delusion that everyone he met was Daredevil, so it isn’t surprising that he should believe he’s hallucinating again here.

The history of New York’s newest and most mysterious crime lord begins to be revealed in Dark Reign: Mr. Negative #1. We learn how as a child, Martin Li entered America illegally and made a fortune for himself after starting out in a sweatshop.

In the present day, though, things aren’t going quite as well for Mr. Negative (who appears to be Martin’s alter ego) as The Hood, the new king of the New York underworld, sends an army of super villains including Lightmaster, the Spot and the Answer to put him out of business. Negative responds by taking control of Spider-Man and sending him into the fray on his side. 

Continuity: The Answer first appeared in Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #91 (1984), Lightmaster in Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #3 (1977) and the Spot in Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #98 (1985).

The White Dragon, another villain seen as one of the Hood’s forces (and subsequently killed by them while under Mr. Negative’s influence) in this issue first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #184 (1978). He later reappeared in Marvel Team-Up #144, but his last significant appearance was in a Spectacular Spider-Man Annual. I think it’s safe to assume that writer Fred Van Lente was a fan of Spectacular Spider-Man.

Lightmaster’s rather odd, goblinesque appearance here is at variance with every previous appearance of the character.

The FF are lost in the multiverse in Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #4, and back on Earth Norman Osborn is attempting to gain entry to the Baxter Building. Luckily, there’s still someone left to stop him-Amadeus Cho’s nemesis, little Valeria Richards, and her brother Franklin!
Chris Powell (AKA Darkhawk) learns more of the secrets of the Raptors as he attempts to free himself from Null Space in War of Kings: Ascension #3. But back in the real world, the Raptor named Razor now controls Chris’s Darkhawk armor and is about to use it to assassinate Lilandra, former Empress of the Shi-Ar.

With the help of a fellow prisoner in the Null Zone, the Skrull warlord H’Jke Jeeku, who inadvertently freed the Raptor named Talon, Chris manages to reassert his control over the Darkhawk armor and return to the real world…only to find himself holding a smoking gun and confronted by hordes of angry Shi-Ar, the Starjammers and an apparently dead Lilandra!

Continuity: this issue ties directly into War of Kings 4, in which Lilandra is seemingly assassinated by Razor. H’Jke Jeeku was first seen) in Secret Invasion: War of Kings #1(2009), in which the Inhumans blew up his ship and left him for dead, floating in space. He was revealed to have survived, and found the Raptor amulet, in War of Kings: Ascension # 1.

Panel of the week:
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #4, page 10
Valeria vs Venom. No contest…

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  • Andy Oliver

    Andy Oliver Jun 23, 2009 at 2:17pm

    I *love* Fred Van Lente's work but I passed on DR: MR. NEGATIVE for the same reason I pass on every $3.99 Marvel book - it's the only way to protest that 33% price hike on standard books. That said, every so often I manage to pick up something without realising it's $3.99 (like PUNISHER #6 for the revisitation of the Scourge of the Underworld storyline). Ho-hum.

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