More beginnings and ends. Part one looked at what DC had to offer this week. Here in part two, it’s Marvel’s turn to impress. Includes THE DEFENDERS #11, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #695, and AVENGERS VS X-MEN #12.
First up is THE DEFENDERS #11, which if I’m reading this correctly may be a step away from the series finale. Makes sense, given the series has been trucking along for a year now, and all signs have been pointing to a tonal climax.
Wow, it has been a year since it began. Did I mention this was the first thing I talked about when I started up this site. But that’s a matter for the inevitable retrospective.
In previous issues the Defenders returned from another dimension to find the world being destroyed by a Death Celestial. And it’s there because the Defenders wouldn’t stop messing with the Concordance Engines. After all this time, we finally learn what the engines are and what they represent. They’re the things that exist to prevent bored forces of destruction from destroying all of reality.
In the meantime, we learn the origin story for John Aman, the immortal hero-turned-villain that banished the Defenders from the world in the first place. Somehow Namor is still alive, despite the Death Celestial being able to kill anything just by thinking about it, and guys like Ant Man only avoided that fate by shrinking too small to be noticed. How the crap did that thing fail to notice Namor and his new rocking beard? Even clean shaven the guy does not do subtlety.
Anyway, the series is probably ending soon, and we’re basically gearing up for the final showdown with…someone. Don’t know how one fights a being made of death that can kill with a thought. Probably has something to do with those engines, and shutting them down.
Indeed, those phrases we keep seeing in the book for the last year are coming into play at least. The Universe will break. Shut the engines down. Everyone you love dies. Fight to save everything.
Moving on from the cryptic bullshit, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #695 kicks off what’s probably the final storyline in the series. So at a point previously in the series when I wasn’t reading it yet, reporter Phil Urich killed the Hobgoblin and assumed his identity, and is currently in the employ of the Kingpin. Except apparently the old Hobgoblin, Roderick Kingsley, wasn’t dead for reals, and has returned intent on claiming the title for himself.
The Hobgoblin character has a fair bit of history, being created to give Spiderman a goblin nemesis after the various Green Goblins were killed off. The major defining bit of history for the original Hobgoblin was his identity, a subject hidden for roughly ten years due to the writer who planned the reveal leaving Amazing Spiderman before the reveal could take place. It’s all convoluted and not really all that important to our current proceedings.
The Kingpin wants Horizon Labs employee Ty Stone to build a machine that will boost Peter Parker’s spider sense to debilitating levels. Meanwhile, Peter tries to stop the Daily Bugle from running the story illustrating his ties to Spiderman. Why? Because in a interesting and infuriating turn, the book referenced One Moment In Time, a follow-up to One More Day where Peter resolved the whole “revealed his identity to the world” thing by asking Doctor Strange to cast a forgetfulness spell, which could come undone if Peter’s face gets broadcast to the world.
Yep, Doctor Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme, can mind wipe the entire planet but not heal one bullet wound. Damnit Joe Quesada.
Further meanwhile Madame Web, the resident clairvoyant prophet of New York City, sees portents of doom, as well as a bunch of other panels I suspect were lifted wholesale from upcoming Marvel comics issues in various series. Nothing much else to say, except that the book seems to be leading to a possible point in later issues where Peter Parker’s identity as Spiderman gets revealed to the world. Would Marvel be ballsy enough to attempt that again?
And finally we have AVENGERS VS X-MEN #12, and the finale of AVX. Last issue saw Cyclops straight up choke Emma Frost to gain her power, then straight up murder Professor Xavier in a mental battle. The fact that he died was something left ambiguous until now. How much do we want to bet Professor X comes back from the dead in a few years?
I know, tasteless comment. But really, this is what the comic book industry trains us to question!
This was a great issue. Cyclops goes Dark Phoenix on us, huge battle happens with the entire planet as the fighting grounds, and our two leading ladies Hope Summers and the Scarlet Witch get to kick ass. Also for some reason Nova flies in and does something heroic that makes everyone respect him and want him to join the Avengers. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Nova. But did he appear at all in AVX before this issue? To give a comparison, imagine if the Justice League in the old DC continuity went up against Darkseid, and then out of nowhere in the last issue Plastic Man stretches in and knocks him out.
So AVX is an event that drew upon X-Men history all the way back to the original Phoenix era. But of principle importance was House of M, where the Scarlet Witch used her chaos magic to depower all but 200 mutants. A lot of people thought (and still think) that was a terrible idea. Not going to spoil anything more than necessary, but as of this comic Marvel is rectifying that problem. There will be more mutants. Not sure whether the “more mutants” will be old mutants restored to power, or if they’ll be people who never had powers. Someone who regularly reads the X-Men books can feel free to clue me in.
One final note on AVX before the inevitable retrospective – I need to compile a list of series I need to follow up on – is that as a result of the events here, Marvel will be ending the old Avengers title in favor of a new series: Uncanny Avengers. Indeed, the X-Men, or what remain after the extended fighting, will be joining with the Avengers in a new ongoing. Because lord knows we need more Avengers.
Regardless, I’ll drink to that book’s success. Here’s to it not being a debacle.
What are your predictions for Marvel NOW and the upcoming Uncanny Avengers? Do you think Professor Xavier will eventually return, or is Marvel serious about his death this time? Will you be sad to see The Defenders go, as I will? Do you care who the Hobgoblin is? Will Marvel really reveal Spiderman’s identity to the Marvel universe? And if they do, will they not cop out of it later on? Leave your comments below.