Posts Tagged ‘Death’

Age of Apocalypse Wild Child killed by Archangel in Uncanny X-Force #17

June 2, 2012

Uncanny X-Force #17
Jan 2012

Well, the title of the post already spoiled what this comic is about, and regular readers of this site would probably expect some blathering rant which usually accompanies an Alpha Flight death where I go on and on whining about disrespecting the characters and how the writer is a stupid jerk and I hate him, etc.

But, to paraphrase Rocky Balboa, if you were to ask me if I had anything derogatory to say about this issue, I’d say it’s great. One of the best comics in the Alpha Flight collection actually, despite the unfortunate outcome for Age of Apocalypse (AoA) Wild Child, who appears as a regular member of the Amazing X-Men.

Chapter 7 of the Dark Angel Saga brings the return of the Age of Apocalypse characters re-introduced to us in issue #11 of this title as AoA Wild Child, Sabretooth, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler and Sunfire teleport in to save Wolverine. Some time must have passed since we saw them last, since Wild Child’s right arm has grown back, but with all the interdimensional hopping, it’s hard to say how much time exactly. Wait, what? Yeah, his right arm was pulled off by the Blob in issue #13 but apparently he got better.

A close up shows his right arm back where it belongs:

The chain that Sabretooth had been using as a leash was notably absent in previous issues in this series, but it returns here. Maybe because, you know, they’re out for a walk in another dimension. Wild Child can be seen in several panels chained up and crouching low next to his master, in very typical imagery for the character.

Various scenes showing Wild Child chained to Sabretooth, crouching beneath him in subservience

While attempting to stop Archangel from destroying the entire world, the Amazing X-Men along with Wolverine attack him in the Akkaba stronghold in the metropolis deep under the North Pole. Just like every character and every battle in this issue, it’s a big and bold and powerful scene. Archangel lowers his left wing and pivots a horizontal slice through Wolverine’s chest, Sabretooth’s chest and straight through Wild Child’s entire body, severing him in half with a “Grgaghh–” (and severing the chain, which is a nice touch despite it being a bloody and goopy mess).

Knowing he had an accelerated healing factor that was capable of growing back an arm in just a few issues, it wasn’t clear to readers at the time if Wild Child had actually been killed or not, even though he had been chopped in half. Many of the other characters had taken an insane amount of abuse in these issues from Archangel and it seemed inconceivable that all of them had been killed, especially since there had been solicits out for future Age of Apocalypse-related issues featuring Sabretooth (sliced to bits in a bloody smear), Jean Grey (burnt by her own Phoenix blast) and Nightcrawler (stabbed doubly in the back the points of Archangel’s razor-sharp wingtips). Unfortunately, in issue #19 of this series, AoA Sabretooth confirmed that Wild Child had in fact been killed. It should be noted that in that issue, Rick Remender duly honors his loyalty to Sabretooth with the solemnity and respect deserving of the character.

So nope, no angry rant. The guy got killed ON PANEL by someone more powerful in a fair fight while heroically trying to save the entire world – a world not even his own! Combine that with the tasteful nod that came later and the overall awesomeness of this issue (and the Dark Angel Saga in general) and you get an Alpha Flight death done right.

Note: Wild Child had previously been killed off twice; his 616 version in Wolverine Origins #39 by Omega Red and once in the Mutant X universe (which is designated Earth-1298 for those of you who keep track of those sorts of things) when Sabretooth killed him while rescuing Wolverine’s daughter in Mutant X #29 (March 2001). With the death of the AoA version, all versions of Kyle Gibney are finally put to rest.

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Tastes like chicken

April 4, 2012

Marvel Universe vs. Wolverine #3
Oct 2011

This four-issue mini is a prequel to the 2010 series, Marvel Universe vs. Punisher, an alternate reality series where the entire world is infected with a pathogen that turns everyone into primitive-yet-intelligent cannibals. It could just as easily have been a zombie story, and if you didn’t read the captions nor introductory text, one could think it were a zombie story from the art alone. My guess is that either Marvel felt they had enough zombie action with their fifth(!) Marvel Zombies series concurrently published with that series in 2010, or that someone, somewhere decided that they had just about enough zombie and it was changed it to cannibals. Zombie Northstar, uh, I mean Cannibal Predator Northstar appears in a few panels as a member of The Thing’s tribe.

After the anti-cannibal lab in the Baxter Building is destroyed by the Punisher’s grenades in a battle with The Thing, who has been infected with the pathogen, Mr. Fantastic, Black Panther and Wolverine decide to rebuild the anti-cannibal lab in Elizabeth, New Jersey. There, Reed Richards has a warehouse with equipment and T’Challa hopes to reunite with his sister at a staging ground for refugees. They gather up a couple of dozen scientists, some uninfected heroes and a wooden wagon filled with doohickeys and attempt to cross the Goethals Bridge.

For all the historic landmarks, famous buildings and architectural marvels in New York City recognized instantly worldwide and visited by billions of tourists, let’s just say the Goethals Bridge ranks somewhere near the very bottom. For New Yorkers, it’s one of two bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey and is the main route to get to Newark International Airport and of course, the IKEA in Elizabeth.

The only problem is that it’s really very far away from the Baxter Building. Click on the map above to see the shortest route possible (in purple) taken by the science caravan. The Baxter Building is in the upper right and Elizabeth, New Jersey is in the lower left. In the comic book, it seems as if it’s one of the bridges one can take to get off Manhattan Island… but in reality, you have to take at least one bridge or tunnel to leave Manhattan, enter either Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx or New Jersey and then take another bridge to get onto Staten Island in order to cross it. The shortest driving route from the Baxter Building to the Goethals Bridge is about 21 miles long (34 kilometers for you metric people), and by foot it’s at least a 7 hour walk.

Meanwhile, The Thing’s infected friends, a tribe consisting of Thundra, Sabretooth, Lady Deathstrike and Northstar, among others, have joined up with the infected Hulk to engage in a final showdown with the superheroes and scientists. Northstar is (mis?)colored green, shown standing around with the rest of the infected. The green shade is either an effect of the infection or just a murky coloring job in a book filled with appropriately murky art.

It's not easy being green.

The two sides meet up at the Goethals bridge, and Northstar can be seen again standing behind the Hulk in a few panels. As the science caravan rolls into New Jersey, several heroes protecting the caravan stay behind to give them enough time to escape.

The Human torch firebombs the bridge, killing quite a few of the infected standing behind the Hulk, possibly killing Northstar. The survivors of that attack fight a massive battle in a raging inferno, then abruptly, the scene shifts to just the Hulk and Wolverine in a classic on-on-one. The Human Torch massively firebombs the Goethals bridge again, destroying it, and if Northstar weren’t killed in the first firebomb, or by the Punisher, or by anyone else, the second firebomb surely done him in. Note that Northstar isn’t seen in issue #4 and was not in the Marvel Universe vs. Punisher series for which this series serves as prequel, so it’s very likely he was killed, and even though the poor guy was a green-skinned infected cannibal predator anyway, Alpha Flight fans really don’t need another Northstar death to add to our collection.

Diamond Lil killed in X-Force #23

February 3, 2010

X-Force #23
Mar 2010

The Necrosha storyline continues in this issue as an invading force attacks Utopia Island, the new home of the X-Men. The battle, which started in the previous issue turns sour very quickly, as some of the bad guys have literal power over life and death. Mister Jeffries appears as a regular member of the X-Men Science Team, having joined up in Uncanny X-Men #505 and Diamond Lil appears as well.

Diamond Lil, who had been tending to Iceman in the previous issue, can be seen very tiny on the intro page in a reduced version of the 2pg spread at the end of issue #22 which shows the invading force blinking in by teleportation. However, once the issue begins, she suddenly becomes extremely impatient with the situation, dumps Iceman right on the ground (poor Bobby) and rushes headstrong into the fray. She ignores Mister Jeffries’ admonition to wait and is immediately taken out by Mortis’ death touch which kills her instantly. It’s just “HK–!” and then THUD! and that’s the end of Lillian “Creepy” Crawley.

Later, Jeffries can be seen holding Lil’s limp dead body, lamenting, “I never stopped loving you,” a confusing statement given the unknown status of their relationship at the time of publication. Even more confusing was the relative ease with which Mortis’ death touch was able to penetrate Lil’s impenetrable bio-aura, unless it is far more disruptive to energy fields than previously known.

Just like the sudden reappearance and immediate subsequent death of Marrina in Dark X-Men: The List #1, the initial excitement over Lil’s resurfacing in last issue took a turn for the worse. It’s not clear why Chris Yost felt compelled to kill her off, in addition to a few other mutants, but he did have this to say about it:

…Pretty much every comic, artist, writers, you name it has people that love it, or people that hate it. It’s subjective.

It really is an interesting situation here, though, with comics – because even when people hate a book with the power of a million exploding suns… they will keep reading it because of a love for the characters. I get that…

…We’re still taking heat from the New X-Men bus explosion four years ago. There’s some dude on Comixfan that will probably hate us forever for killing Quill. We’ll take heat for Diamond Lil forever, too. And that’s okay.

If you guys weren’t passionate about these characters and stories, good or bad, it wouldn’t be worth doing.

Chris Yost lacks a needle in his moral compass. His logic is: writing that results in fans hating him for killing a beloved character or writing that results in fans loving him for resurrecting a beloved character are morally equivalent because there will always be one person somewhere who will hate him. Since he can’t ever please 100.00% of all people 100.00% of the time, he ought not make any attempt to please anyone, ever, and just sit back and be hated, or loved, happy that he was able to evoke an emotion at all while showing complete indifference to the nature of the evoked emotion while somehow still existing in a state of wonderment and admiration for comic book fans. Terrible. He ought to get over this angsty perfectionism and stop assuming that fans will continue to buy comics he writes just because they love comic books more than they hate his writing.

It really is very disappointing to lose Lil this way. There was no reason to kill her off, except for he fact that she was an unused character who precious few would mourn. It didn’t advance the storyline nor add characterization to anyone. All it did was completely ignore her life story, which was one of redemption from a checkered past into a top tier super-hero as an Alpha Flight member. She was also a survivor of a breast cancer scare and a troubling love triangle that caused immense suffering in her heart, the only weak part of her otherwise indestructible body. Her meaningless death by means of an instant death touch from a character she had no previous connection with, and without any resistance is incomprehensible, shocking and undeserved.

Note: this issue has a variant cover, also by Clayton Crain.

X-Force #23 – Clayton Crain variant

Note: a portion of the actual panel depicting Diamond Lil’s death was reproduced on the Intro page of X-Force #24. That issue also has a variant cover, also by Clayton Crain.

X-Force #24
X-Force #24 – Clayton Crain variant

Fred Hembeck Destroys FUNday!

January 18, 2010

In our 17th installment of FUNday, the weekly look at the lighter side of collecting Alpha Flight, we get yet another incredible book by the genius Fred Hembeck!

Fred Hembeck Destroys the Marvel Universe #1
Jul 1989

Originally set as a follow-up to the Fantastic Four Roast, this hilarious classic features tons of characters from the Marvel Universe, including none other than the great Fred Hembeck who appears as himself. Everyone dies, of course, as you can tell from the title, and luckily, Alpha Flight died too! Northstar and Guardian appear in single panel cameos as ghosts. Puck and Sasquatch’s name appear on headstones, and all the rest die behind the scenes.

The general plot is that the big guy at Marvel (who was Jim Shooter at the time) had an evil twin who conned Fred Hembeck into writing a story to kill off the entire Marvel Universe. That actual story was written in 1983 but not published until 1989, by which time Jim Shooter had left Marvel. The 1989 version had to be re-framed to make sense and ended up as a narrative read by The Punisher, who is really Stan Lee in disguise. In the narrative, hero and villian alike face the most absurd deaths with just about every possible wisecrack, gag and fast-paced silliness that only Fred Hembeck can deliver. At the end, Stan Lee tosses all the pages into the trash.

At the beginning of the narrative, a number of heroes rise out of a graveyard as legless ghosts. Two of the tombstones bear the names “Sasquatch” and “Puck”, but the characters don’t appear in the book. Sasquatch’s tombstone can be found in the lower left and Puck’s is in the upper right of this image.

Later, while Cap and Iron Man (Jim Rhodes at the time) discuss their situation while waiting to be processed in the afterlife, Northstar appears very tiny in one corner as a ghost.

After the Fantastic Four are crushed by a boulder and sent to the afterlife, Guardian appears, also as a newly risen ghost. Note that at the time this story was written in 1983, Guardian had not yet been considered dead in Alpha Flight #12 (cover date Jul 1984). By the time this comic was published in 1989, he was still considered dead, but would return to Alpha Flight in 1990. This wasn’t the only sort of thing that dated the 1983 portion of the story, but similar to having Jim Rhodes in the armor, smart Hulk, etc., the changes that occurred betwixt writing and publication would have been obvious to the sophisticated reader in 1989.

Should you want to know more about the timing of the writing and the epic near-fail of how this issue almost never got published, along with several unpublished pages, and the original cover, check out the very long story of it all on Hembeck’s site. You can also see this page (with the tombstones above, a published page). Notice how I put the links at the end of the post so you wouldn’t jump off right off the bat and wander about on some other site, never to return to this one? Clever, eh?

Never underestimate the power of body language!

January 14, 2010

New Mutants #9
Mar 2010

The first post-Necrosha issue of New Mutants was published while the storyline was still going on in X-Force and X-Men Legacy, leaving readers with an unusual insight as to how certain parts of the storyline ended, at least with respect to the New Mutants. Mister Jeffries appears as a member of the X-Men Science Team, having joined up in Uncanny X-Men #505 and Witchfire appears in one panel as well.

Mister Jeffries’ appearance in this issue is only two panels. He looks on in the lab while Danger examines Cypher and Warlock, two original New Mutant members recently reunited with the team. He only has one line, not anything eventful. On the next page, Cypher says, “From Mr. Jeffries’ body language I’d say he has feelings for–” after which Dr. Nemesis cuts him off.

From my body language, I'd say I need a comb.

Presumably, he was about to say “Danger”, as the only other possible object of affection nearby was Emma Frost, who was on the other side of the room at the time. In any case, from the two panels in which Jeffries appears, it’s not apparent what Doug is talking about, as there’s really nothing that he’s doing that would make one think he has feelings for anyone. However, take into consideration that upon his return to the New Mutants, Cypher gained a seriously enhanced power set where he can understand even the most subtle types of communication, including body language. So, something must be going on there, but it’s not visible to readers without Cyphers’s mutant powers.

Note also that during the Necrosha storyline, we find out that Mister Jeffries’ wife, Lillian “Diamond Lil” Crawley is with the X-Men on Utopia. As if she’d put up with that! I can understand that Zeb Wells wants to establish Cypher’s new powers by giving us an example of an extremely subtle human interaction that he’s now able to perceive, but really, of all the inhabitants of Utopia and of all the possible relationships, selecting Jeffries and Danger to use as subjects for this example really makes no sense.

If you want my body and you think I'm sexy, come on, sugar, let me know

Following Warlock’s remark that Illyana Rasputin is a copy, Emma sits down with her to discuss her recent history. What follows is quite momentous for those who follow Magik’s storyline, and if I had a “Magik Collector” blog, I’d probably be going on and on about it. Her rambling explanation, which is confusing, even if you are well-versed in her history and recent return, explains events following the end of X-Infernus and the beginning of this run of New Mutants – events that were in a time pocket lasting only a few days in one reality but years in another.

While searching for her bloodstones during those years, Magik finds Witchfire, reincarnated. What she’s referring to by “reincarnated” is difficult to understand, unless it means “reconstituted” as opposed to “resurrected.” At the ending of X-Infernus, Witchfire is shown escaping Limbo, seemingly alive, so the notion of being “reconstituted” would make much more sense. Unfortunately, Magik kills her with the soulsword, causing green fires to spew forth out of her mouth and eyes. Now I love flamey-eyed Witchfire as much as one could, even to the point of using Finch’s version as the official logo of this site, but that image is just disturbing. Note that Witchfire’s right hand is correctly shown as being partially regenerated, as it’s still magically growing back after Nightcrawler severed it in X-Infernus #4.

Illyana goes on to describe a battle between the X-Men and travellers from another dimension led to the bloodstones by Witchfire. It’s not clear how, or even if these events fit into continuity, as they could occur during the time pocket years or be one of many futures she said that she saw on the way to the past. Confused? So am I, twice over with incomprehensible scenes for both Alphans.

Sasquatch killed by flesh-eating insects in Mighty Avengers #21

November 17, 2009

Mighty Avengers #21
Mar 2009

The Mighty Avengers was the official Avengers group formed during the 50 state initiative following Civil War, but in the era of Dark Reign, things have changed. This issue starts a new story arc with a new writer and a new roster, and as such, is mostly a recruitment-oriented story. Sasquatch appears as a regular member of Omega Flight in one panel.

During a series of worldwide catastrophic events dubbed “The Chaos Cascade”, The Scarlet Witch (really Loki) recruits several members to join the new Mighty Avengers, one of which was supposed to be Captain America (Bucky Barnes). Unfortunately, he got himself killed by evil spikey eye-poking vines that manifested as a result of the Chaos Cascade. Her second choice is USAgent, naturally, recruited right out from an attack of evil flesh-eating insects in downtown Toronto, where quondam Omega Flight teammates Arachne, Weapon Omega and Sasquatch are killed.

Tastes like chicken.

The events of the Chaos Cascade were too globally destructive and overwhelmingly mischievous for the reader to believe that its effects would last: Spidey, Cap, Ms. Marvel and Ronin die; New York, San Francisco and Atlantis are destroyed; the reader just knows these effects are temporary. Meanwhile, the very presence of the Scarlet Witch lends itself to a general feel of “alternate reality”, and sure enough, by issue #23, the effects are reversed.

Note the roster change for Omega Flight: USAgent is removed, but not before Dan Slott took two pages to have the Scarlet Witch insult him as being a B-list replacement for Captain America.

Zombies and Apes in the same book? Only on FUNday!

November 9, 2009

funday
This week’s Monday FUNday is just off of Hallowe’en but we can still fit in some zombies (and apes).

marvelzombieseecoverMarvel Zombies: Evil Evolution #1
Jan 2010

This one-shot is a crossover between the Marvel Zombies and Marvel Apes. Following a convoluted series of inter-dimensional travels, a massive battle erupts between forces from the two universes. Ape Alpha Flight, consisting of ape versions of Snowbird, Northstar, Aurora, Shaman (named Shamonk) and Puck (named Pook) appears in two panels.

Ape Snowbird calls out to Shamonk and Pook as Zombie Quicksilver uses his super-speed to bite each of them before they can fight back. Then the rest of them either die as infected zombies or are eaten by other zombies as “Can-ape-ian bacon” as Zombie Quicksilver runs off with a big chunk of Ape Snowbird’s neck in his mouth.

marvelzombieseea

The battle takes place far from Canada, so it’s likely that Ape Snowbird had previously obtained a mystical blessing from the Northern Ape Gods to venture beyond the borders.

marvelzombieseeb

Zombie Guardian also appears, biting off the Vulture’s shoulder in flashback to an unspecified battle between the Zombies and non-Ape superpowered humans.

marvelzombieseec

Later, in one panel, what appears to be Ape Zombie Guardian (or is it Zombie Ape Guardian?) and Zombie Wild Child appear, about to battle Ape Captain America, who gets eaten by Zombie Colonel America. Zombie Wild Child looks similar to his appearance in Tieri’s Weapon X series. It’s not clear if Zombie Guardian or Zombie Wild Child ate any brains in this issue.

Well, there’s just about enough severed limbs, maggots, and goopy bloody guts everywhere for any zombie fan and plenty of monkey humor for the ape fan. We’re lucky enough to get both, but it does invoke a broad sense of bewilderment how such an issue could even exist in the first place.

Wild Child killed by Omega Red

October 27, 2009

wolorigins39coverWolverine Origins #39
Oct 2009

Picking up right where we left off in the previous issue, more of Romulus’ secret plan unfolds before us as several members of his deadly fight club square off against each other. Wild Child appears extensively in this issue as an agent of Romulus, having joined up with him sometime before Wolverine v3 #53.

Wild Child first appears in flashback to his single panel cameo in issue #38 on the Intro/Credits page, then in a metal fabrication plant in Russia where he has killed a local worker and tied up Wolverine over a vat of bubbling molten metal. After expostulating for a few pages about his diabolical plan to lower Wolverine into the vat, which could have been shortened if he had just said, “Terminator 2. ‘Nuff said!”, he accidentally gives Wolverine (and us) clues about what’s been going on for the past few years since the Romulus retcon started.

wolorigins39c

You made the classic movie mistake: don't explain so much!

Wolverine figures out Romulus’ gladiator-style plan to pit various members of his fight club against each other, shown very nicely with half-page portraits of the members, the best art in the book (Nuke, Cyber and Sabretooth already killed, Omega Red, Wild Child, Daken and Wolverine are left). Wild Child then appears in a greyed out flashback to the events of Wolverine v3 #55 when Wolverine killed Sabretooth.

wolorigins39aMeanwhile, Omega Red, who was defeated but not killed in the previous issue, shows up during Kyle’s monologue and after a brief scuffle, rams one of his tentacles through Wild Child’s throat and tosses him into the vat of molten metal, killing him.

The way the battles had been going so far, this was an unexpected result. Remember that a newly powered (with possibly increased levels) Wild Child fought Wolverine and won handily in Wolverine v3 #53. Later, Wolverine defeated Omega Red, so it would appear that Wild Child ought to have done better against the loser of the loser’s battle, but unfortunately, fared worse than expected.

Given the choice, I’d prefer not to see Kyle die at all, but if he had to, it would have been preferable for Logan to do it: remember back to the grisly fight between them in Marvel Comics Presents #51-53, which could have gone either way, the short battle in Alpha Flight #127 and in that same issue, the flashback when he rescues Stitch from him and declares, “The kid’s a monster, pure and simple. He doesn’t need reaching… …he needs putting down!” I was expecting Logan to take him out with a line something like, “Mac’s not around anymore to stop me from doing something I shoulda done years ago…”, to get a sense of closure on the long-standing storyline of raw animosity between the two. Nothing was even mentioned before or after Wild Child’s death. Even Jeph Loeb took a shot at Wild Child’s history, but Daniel Way just treated Kyle as some random dude who just showed up who Logan didn’t even know, without a single hint of recognition or connection whatsoever.

wolorigins39b
Wild Child’s character has been transformed so many times through his life, from the scraggly feral man-beast from Delphine Courtney’s Omega Flight to Weapon Omega, then the handsome Wildheart, reborn somehow into X-Factor, devolved at the end of his run there, reborn by Weapon X into a mute grey-skinned vampiric moppet and finally depowered, only to be brought back all Wildhearty again, with super-speed and strength, hair, a voice, and tons of piercings. His life, a story of continual change, oscillating between man, beast, hero and villain, is finally over.

Note: this issue has a variant cover:

wolorigins39cover70thanniversaryvariant Wolverine Origins #39 – 70th Anniversary Frame variant

Jeffries brothers killed in House of M: Masters of Evil #3

October 14, 2009

hommoe3coverHouse of M: Masters of Evil #3
Dec 2009

Set in the alternate reality of the House of M storyline where Wanda Maximoff (the Scarlet Witch) warped reality into a mutant-centric world in which her family ruled, the Masters of Evil spin-off series features a nasty bunch of human baddies. Led by the mysterious Hood, this crew of criminals seeks to liberate the fictional country of Santo Rico where none other than Mister Madison and Doctor Lionel Jeffries share power.  The two brothers appear extensively in this issue as enemies of the Masters of Evil and are ultimately defeated.

In the mainstream universe, we knew that Lionel Jeffries suffered from a sort of traumatic stress brought on by his inability to re-animate fallen comrades in battle (as described in Alpha Flight #30).  Cured of this disorder by his own organic shaping abilities combined with his brother’s sheer will in that same issue, he remained an associate of Alpha Flight but was unable to maintain a healthy mental state and was eventually killed mercifully by his brother Madison after fusing with Roger Bochs into Omega (Alpha Flight #49).  It’s a moving story of healing, redemption and sacrifice, poignant sentiments that could not possibly be more removed from the plot of this issue.

hommoe3aIn this reality, the brothers were exposed to highly stressful conditions during the human/mutant war when they were forced to use their mutant powers against other mutants.  Similar to the mainstream reality, the extreme conditions of their captivity induced a psychotic state in Lionel, and to some degree in Madison as well.  It also causes Lionel to want to look more like Romulus’ multiple earring version of Wild Child. Installed to power by Magneto in Santo Rico, the Jeffries brothers’ seemingly unstoppable combination of powers bring upon the citizens of the tiny country, a majority of which are human, a reign of terror marked by horrific abuses and atrocities.

The Masters of Evil swoop in and quickly take over the country, ostensibly for financial gain, but not before an epic battle with the Jeffries brothers.  Madison fights in his armor, but is not shown physically merged with the armor, but rather, enclosed by it in old-school Iron Man fashion.  This is completely different than how we are used to see Jeffries, but still consistent with his power set and quite a step up from the coiled tentacle scene from Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Exodus #1.

hommoe3c

Madison fights with completely awesome hand-repulsor blasts and absorbs metal from his enemies’ costumes and nearby cars into his bulk.   Lionel takes on a similar tactic, absorbing nearby bad guys into a grotesque blob of face-studded flesh.  They defeat Bulldozer and Piledriver of the Wrecking Crew this way.  Lionel then absorbs the Hood.

Completely awesome hand-repulsor blasts

Completely awesome hand-repulsor blasts

Unfortunately, the Hood shoots through Lionel’s organic bulk and causes a failure mode in Lionel’s power due to the fact that the Hood isn’t 100% human.  Lionel rejects the Hood’s body and reverts to a non-blobby state.  After pleading for his life by offering to fix the scars beneath Madame Masque’s mask, the Hood shoots him in the face and kills him.

Meanwhile, Madison has risen to an enormous size as he directly engages an unmanageably large group of Masters of Evil, at one point getting attacked simultaneously  by Absorbing Man,  Blizzard, Chemistro,  Sandman, Thunderball and Wrecker and maybe some more bad guys who I (and I suspect the artist as well) can’t identify or lost count of.  The combined attack is too much even for him and he is taken down, demoralized further by his brother’s death and fatally stabbed in the back by the Wrecker’s magic crowbar.

hommoe3d

Following in the tradition of resurrected characters we haven’t seen for a long time, only to have them warped into a state of complete insanity and quickly killed (see Dark Reign: The List – X-Men #1 for Marrina’s similar fate), we see Lionel in the worst possible psychological condition and brutally executed with little remorse.  His brother fares no better, as the battle is fought between very bad guys and otherwise heroic characters who are portrayed as gleefully sinister, mentally unstable and psychotically cruel.  This morally bankrupt issue lacks anything resembling heroic action on anyone’s part, denying readers the chance to re-live what was a closed chapter of pathos in Alpha Flight history.   The issue does bring up the notion of how incredibly powerful the combination of techno- and organo-morph mutant powers could be, a notion ruined by the juxtaposition of overly simplistic versions of post-traumatic stress disorders and a complete disregard for any dignity and respect that the mentally ill deserve.  Fortunately, it all took place in an alternate reality that has since winked out of existence.

Marrina killed by Sub-Mariner. This is not a repeat from 1988.

September 27, 2009

drtlxmcoverDark Reign: The List – X-Men #1
Nov 2009

Marrina has been killed, uh, again, by her former husband, the Sub-Mariner.   Marrina had first been seemingly killed by The Sub-Mariner in Avengers #293 (Jul 1988), which turned out to be a “false death” (Alpha Flight #78 Dec 1989), confirmed when we saw her floating in a tank in Avengers v3 #47 (Dec 2001).   This time around,  in a classic evil villian/maniacal scheme to take down Namor once and for all, Norman Osborn somehow gets his hands on her, genetically modifies her to be continually in estrus, insane, hungry, able to eat only Atlanteans, adds in “shark stuff” and gives her completely awesome blastey eyes.  He sets her free to go eat.

Completely awesome eye blasts.

Completely awesome eye blasts.

After some completely awesome eye blasts, she gobbles up some poor Atlantean farmers.  The X-Men decide to stop the threat, luring the Leviathan to Utopia Island.  When she comes into view, Namor instantly recognizes her and utters an absolutely inappropriate line, “Ex-wives, what can you do?”

drtlxm1b

Bad times.

Poor Marrina then battles the X-Men, very similar to the battles against the Avengers in issues #291-293.  Iceman tries to freeze her, Wolverine chops up her blastey eyes, which just gets glowing eye goop all over the place, Surge tries to electrocute her, and Nightcrawler teleports in a bomb and tosses it at her.   This brings her to flop onto land, where the Sub-Mariner can pick her up and fly her out to the Marianas Trench. 

drxmtl1c

Good times.

He dives down into the crushing depths with her, mistakenly calling her “Mariana”, probably just a typo.  The oddly flippant attitude shown previously is gone.  Instead, he softly begs her not to fight him, not to think.  Then,  a very nice touch: flashback to his fondest memories with her, printed in halftone as if it were lifted right from an 80s era comic.  He comforts her, “It will all be over soon”.

Which isn’t exactly the case because The Avenging Son doesn’t stop there.  No, he has to sever her head and toss it into Osborn’s office window.  When the Leviathan had been subdued before, it reverted back to Marrina’s humanoid form, and again when it was seemingly killed, it reverted again.  This time, she must really be dead.

Well, you can’t blame Namor for what he did. Except for the completely awesome blastey eyes, Marrina was in pretty bad shape.  The wrenching agony of his decision to kill Marrina had already been played out the first time he killed her, so it wasn’t necessary to blather on and on about whether or not to try to rehabilitate her or reverse her condition, etc.  Although it was very nice to see Marrina again after so many years, it was disturbing to see her so terrified and heartbreaking to see her killed in the same issue.  I was really hoping when I saw the preview art that she’d be brought back to us, but no, another Alphan has been killed off.

This concludes the sad, sad saga of Marrina’s short and torturous life.

drltxmcoverchovariant This issue is printed with an alternate Frank Cho cover (1:100 Hero variant) which will cost a pretty penny due to its low print run.
Second printing variant by Alan Davis
drtla1cover Preview art from this issue without speech bubbles was printed in Dark Reign: The List – Avengers #1 last week.
drtla1covervariant That issue also had an alternate 1:100 Hero variant by Marko Djurdjevic, which will also cost a pretty penny.
drtla1coversecondprintingvariant Second printing of the Avengers issue, also by Djurdjevic, much cheaper.