Mighty Week of Marvel #36

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It’s almost all about Dark Reign this week, as Norman Osborn’s grip begins to slip all over the place. And his subordinates aren’t having an easier time of it, either…

Dark X-Men: The Beginning #2 shows us how Daken (Wolverine II), Michael Pointer (Weapon Omega) and Cloak & Dagger were convinced to become a part of Norman Osborn’s X-Men. Pointer is tricked into participating when Osborn releases Mutant Growth Hormone into the air near the building Pointer is working on, causing his powers to kick in and start killing his fellow workers. Cloak & Dagger are seduced by Osborn’s lies. But Daken is definitely there for his own reasons, and the dark Wolverine may not be as much under Norman’s control as he thinks…

Dark Reign: Goblin Legacy #1 is essentially just a reprint collection of a couple of early Green Goblin tales inside a framing sequence, as Osborn’s deputy Ms Hand attempts to find a chink in her boss’s armor. Still, it’s a good excuse to look back on some classics from the Ditko days, when Spider-Man was truly amazing…

Dark Reign: the Hood #3 sees Parker Robbins continuing to try to master the demon lord Dormammu, to whom he is bonded, with the aid of Satana. But Dormammu may not be the Hood’s only problem, as his own underlings- the Controller in particular-are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with his leadership.

Now, the Controller has allied himself with White Fang, the vigilante who is after the Hood’s blood. But Robbins has been forced to stop wearing his mystical cloak, so how can he stand up to a revamped and more powerful White Fang? Particularly when she now knows where he lives!

Continuity: Satana the Devil’s Daughter first appeared in Vampire Tales #2 (1973), and is the sister of Daimon Hellstrom, Son of Satan. Dormammu first appeared in Strange Tales #126 (1964) and the Hood debuted in The Hood #1 (2002).

Another of Norman Osborn’s ‘allies’ has problems of his own in Dark Reign: Hawkeye #4. The phony Hawkeye, in reality Bullseye, has been tormented by someone impersonating him as Bullseye, and is now forced to fight a veritable army of himself! Naturally, hired thugs in Bullseye costumes are no match for the man who can make a weapon of anything, but ‘Hawkeye’ is captured anyway by the original impersonator—in reality, the teleporting vigilante named Solo, who is far from happy that ‘Hawkeye’ has cost him an eye! Worse, Solo is working for Bullseye’s deranged father, who Bullseye left to die in a burning building at the end of their last meeting.

And the old man intends to get his revenge by having his brain transplanted from his ruined body into his son’s healthy one! Of course, it isn’t that easy to subdue Bullseye—and what will Solo do now that he knows he’s been conned into working for the man who created the terrorist group he has dedicated himself to destroying?

Continuity: Solo is a vigilante dedicated to countering terrorist activity. He first appeared in Web of Spider-Man #19 (1986) but has appeared relatively infrequently since then, most recently in the pages of X-Factor. Bullseye’s father was last seen in the 2004 limited series Bullseye’s Greatest Hits.

The insanity continues in Dark Reign: Sinister Spider-Man #2, as Mac Gargan AKA Spider-Man AKA Venom AKA the original Scorpion continues his one man mission to defeat crime and nail beautiful women, while a group of lunatics including a Hippopotamus mutated into humanoid form by the High evolutionary plot revenge on him for eating various of their limbs!

Warning: this is not your average Venom story—though it may well be the funniest.. Not that J Jonah Jameson will be laughing when he realizes the Spider-Man who has been appointed to bodyguard him is actually one of his oldest foes bonded to an alien killer!

Continuity: Mac Gargan has issues with Jameson dating back to Amazing Spider-Man #19 (1964), when Jameson hired him to become the Scorpion. I haven’t a clue who the Hippo is, and neither has anyone else.

We learn why Wonder Man has hooked up with a team of super-villains in Dark Reign: Lethal Legion #2: Simon Williams has been persuaded by his brother, the Grim Reaper, that both sides have reason to want Norman Osborn brought down and that only together will they manage it.  Unfortunately, someone betrayed the Legion. As yet, we don’t know who-but the Grim Reaper won’t be telling, since he has just died in the prison infirmary…

Continuity: If Grim Reaper is indeed dead, it’s unlikely to slow him down for long. He’s died at least three times before now, in West Coast Avengers v.II #2, Vision & the Scarlet Witch #12 and Avengers West Coast #61!

Some old faces make a long overdue return in Thunderbolts #134, as the fugitive Songbird seeks out former partners MACH IV and the Fixer in an attempt to recruit them to aid her in bringing Osborn’s Thunderbolts down. MACH IV is predictably ready to assist her; Fixer is equally predictably unwilling to risk his neck. But when the Thunderbolts attack Songbird, she discovers that she may have an unexpected ally after all: the Thunderbolts’ field leader, Black Widow, is not Yelena Belova at all, but the original Widow, Natasha Romanova, who is working for Nick Fury!

Continuity: the revelation that the Black Widow is not Yelena Belova makes sense, since Belova apparently died after being transformed into a Super Adaptoid in New Avengers Annual #1 (2006). Whether it was a resurrected Belova or Natasha Romanova who was operating as a member of the Vanguard in Marvel Comics Presents #5 (2008) remains to be seen, however.

Nick Fury’s war on Osborn’s HAMMER agency continues to heat up in Secret Warriors #6, and it looks as though the veteran spy is winning: over 3000 HAMMER agents have defected to his side, we are told! (just how big is HAMMER, anyway?) What’s more, Fury’s old friend the Contessa Valentina de Fontaine-now masquerading as the leader of Hydra-is up to something sneaky in Japan, and it involves a mysterious, ancient box which we are informed holds ‘a legacy of both death and madness’. Sounds interesting…

Cracks are appearing in the Hood’s organization in New Avengers #55. The wrecking Crew want out and when Jonas Harrow reveals to the Hood’s army that they are all actually working for Norman Osborn, it seems several others have similar misgivings. But Harrow and Chemistro have a power draining device invented by Tony stark, and offer the villains a chance to get on a more equal footing with Osborn without the Hood’s participation.

Meanwhile, there is dissension in the ranks of the fugitive Avengers when Ronin suggests that the only real answer to the Osborn problem is to kill him-much to Spider-Man’s horror! Then Chemistro attacks, and the Avengers go down. Can things get any worse?

Continuity: Unfortunately, this issue is a mess as far as established continuity goes. Chemistro is referred to (again) as ‘Dr Carr’, but Curtis Carr has not been Chemistro in years;  He was revealed to have reformed in Power Man #37. In addition, he is disabled, wearing prosthetic feet-the Chemistro seen here appears to have no such disability.

The whereabouts of Calvin Carr, the third Chemistro, remain unclear. In addition, other members of the Hood’s organization appear to include the Living Laser, inexplicably back in human form despite having been living energy since about 1986, and Blackout, who is quite definitely dead. Could someone please buy Bendis a bound set of Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe for his birthday?

Elsewhere, outside of the Dark reign event, the FF finally defeat Doom’s MMaster in Fantastic Four #569, but Ben Grimm makes a fateful decision and calls off his wedding to Debbie Green since he feels his lifestyle will only endanger her. And there is a final reckoning between Black Bolt and Vulcan even as Gladiator finally takes his place as Majestor of the Shi-Ar Empire in War of Kings #6. It’s a busy week in the Marvel Universe…

Panel of the week: War of Kings #6, page 15

Gladiator discovers that victory has its price!

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  • Andy Oliver

    Andy Oliver Aug 3, 2009 at 6:56pm

    Oh boy... exactly why I don't buy Bedisverse books. The bigger question here is why wasn't any of that picked up in editorial? Know what Tony... you and I were so lucky that in our teenage years we had the continuity-conscious Marvel of Gru to enjoy, where basic errors like that would *never* have occurred. Happy days!

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