Bane & Batman: Knightfall

Friday’s my 400th article, so if you don’t mind, I’d like to take a moment and talk about my favorite topic: myself.  If I average 600-700ish words per article, that means I’d have written a thousand page book in these past two and a half years.  And as I start the slow climb to my next 400, know that every article and every topic I cover is something I love.  If I don’t like a comic, I don’t talk about it.  So as we continue our comic journey, please remember these two things: negativity is soul-crushing and a celebration of comics will always be superior to a criticism.  That said, you have every right to judge, etc. etc., and I adore every one of my readers — especially you.  Oh, and before we begin, have you visited my dear friend’s comic book blog The Speech Bubble?  He works far harder than I do and deserves more acclaim than he’s seeing.

Okay, so you know about Bane breaking Batman’s back during the Knightfall event.  It’s super famous.  But have you ever actually read the comic itself?  If you have, then you can skip today and go watch YouTube videos.  But for those of you who haven’t, it’s amazing.  Like a brilliant diamond in the midst of the mullets and extreme ‘tudes that littered the 1990s.  We’ll read it together, because like WatchmenThe Dark Knight ReturnsAll-Star Superman, and others, it’s just something you should have to read to be a well-versed comic book fan.  Today, enjoy Batman #497, written by Doug Moench and drawn by Jim Aparo as well as Detective Comics #664, written by Chuck Dixon and drawn by Graham Nolan.

To fully appreciate this story, you have to know some of the backstory.  Bane first appeared in 1993, about six months before our story today.  Psychopathic, certified genius, and incredibly strong (even more so on his venom stuff), he decides he wants to destroy Batman.  Y’know, because if Batman’s the strongest, then that’s who he has to beat.  But instead of just jumping down from a warehouse rafter for a surprise fistfight, he unleashes Batman’s entire rogue gallery to play in the streets of Gotham.  The Dark Knight spends months hunting down each of his supervillains getting weaker and weaker with each new baddie takedown.  When Batman finally re-captures them all, at his absolute worst physically and emotionally, then Bane ambushes Batman.

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I’m not spoiling anything by saying Batman loses.  And it’s not the sheer brutality of the beatdown that makes this fight worth reading.  Batman knows he holds a major disadvantage.  The beauty comes in him re-living these disadvantages (along with the poetic text boxes) as Bane punches the everloving crap out of our dear hero.  That even for Batman’s unbreakable morality — good always triumphs over evil and always will no matter how bleak or desperate — he’s still just a man.  And this issue comes less than a year after The Death of Superman.  If Superman can lose, what chance does our poor Batman have?

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Bane is Batman’s Doomsday.  He represents the basic idea that despite every push we make to eternally fight evil, something or someone will always rise up to shatter our collective efforts and show us our own futility.  Or in other words, the summary of every major news story of 2014.  I’m not being cynical — Superman never loses to Doomsday again and Batman defeats Bane in every encounter after this.  It’s just that sometimes we need to be reminded that evil packs a wallop and just like Batman, we have to rise up time and time again, no matter how many stalagmites we’re thrown into.

Sorry for the sermon, I’m not religious, so superheroes fill that void in my life.  And by that I mean I pray to Spider-Man every night.

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Each flashback goes back to another issue and another bad guy Batman had to subdue in the chaos Bane let loose.  On a very much unrelated note, a few issues from now, Scarecrow sprays his fear gas on Joker to determine his greatest phobia.  The answer?  Nothing.  The dude’s fearless.  And then he beats Scarecrow with a chair.

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I’ve always wondered — how did Batman get that huge penny into the Batcave?  He can’t call movers or anything and it’s not like it’ll fit in the trunk of his Batmobile.  The T-Rex too, while we’re at it.  But then again, I accept without question that a middle-aged man spends his whole life in a blue and gray bat costume while leaping from rooftops to karate chop giant alligator men and clay monsters.  Also, and on a more important note, does Bane claim the title of the supervillain rockin’ the most back hair?

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They fight for a few more pages, and by fight I mean Bane savagely wrecks Batman while trying to avoid getting blood on his luchador outfit.  Eventually, we come to this super famous moment:

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A broken bat may be damaging enough, but Bane goes a step further.  When wrestlers win the championship belt from their opponents, they don’t just shake hands and walk away.  No, now comes the gloating.  Let all of Gotham City know that they answer to a new authority — a hairy, venom-addicted, monster of a manbeast.

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On Friday, it’s Azrael versus Bane!  Our Knightfall battles continue!


Robin’s adoption and the uncle situation

Tim Drake came from a rare origin story in which both his parents were alive when he took over the Robin identity.  And then they weren’t.  So newly orphaned, the teenager can’t just be swinging across the rooftops before returning to his box under the bridge overpass in the morning.  Apparently, things like “laws” prevent minors from doing whatever they please however they want and whenever they want to do it.  But Batman has an idea.  A very heart-felt idea.  Let’s explore Tim Drake’s future/living situation today in the following issues:
Robin #134, written by Bill Willingham and drawn by Damion Scott
Robin #136, written by Willingham and drawn by Pop Mhan
Robin #138, written by Willingham and drawn by Scott
Robin #139, written by Willingham and drawn by Scott McDaniel
Batman #654, written by James Robinson and Don Kramer

First up, Batman’s plan (and part of today’s article title).

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I’m no expert on adoptions, and I’m sure the state wouldn’t be pleased by a man in a bat costume raising Drake, but random men can only claim kids as their own as long as no other possible options exist (I assume).  I mean, surely Robin can take care of himself — he’s had a solo series for since the early ’90s after all, but when it comes to laws Batman’ll break (like trespassing, assault, illegal wiretapping, etc.), he follows adoption procedures to the letter.

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Well, no more Tim Wayne for Tim Drake.  Bring the world adventuring uncle back home and Tim’ll get a proper house and other problems he’ll have to lie about to his new family member.  Look, it’s not as if this is anything new to poor Robin.  All he wants is the freedom to not attend school, patrol by himself, and do all those great adult things Batman, Nightwing, Batgirl, and the others get to do.  Even Batman would make Robin sit through classes and complete his homework before giving permission to jump kick bad guys.  Such is the life of a 15 (or 16?) year-old kid.

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How sweet, right?  Edward Drake looks like a cool dude, like that uncle who lets you smoke a cigarette once in a while as long as you bring your female friends around for him casually leer at. Maybe he won’t mind his nephew fighting crime.  Maybe he’ll use his doctoring skills to aid Robin. Maybe he leaves loving hand-written notes in Robin’s lunch bag every morning.  Or maybe he’s a great big fraud.  Probably the last one.

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It’s not bad that Robin lied to Batman.  It’s bad that he lied to the person with the most powerful, comprehensive computer in the entire world along with the single greatest problem-solving mind hidden behind any mask in the DC universe.  Batman makes up for his lack of super strength by being superhuman at everything else.  Like being super scary.

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Drake even gets a half-smile from Batman, the largest grin possible from his brooding mentor.  As for dear Uncle Eddie, he appears in one more scene after this and then never again.  He doesn’t die or anything — a girl shows up at the apartment, Robin asks for some alone time, Eddie leaves, and we never see or hear from him again.  Much like the parents of many other superheroes.  It’s simply an unsolved plot line dangling eternally in the bowels of comic book history.

A year later (in both comic book time and real life time), Batman asks Drake once more if he’d do the honor of being adopted.  It goes exactly as you expect: heart-warmingly.

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Nova vs. Nova

In Nova’s solo series, he contains the entire power of the Nova force — like the Hulk of cosmic laser blasters.  So how can the stories create a challenge for him?  Easy.  Make him evil, then have someone else fight him who’s way weaker.  The stakes have risen!  Unfortunately, like all Marvel universe robots, the group called the Phalanx is using the post-Annihilation Wave chaos to take over the galaxy.  They inject mini-robots into any living thing and boom — instant ally.  We pick up in the middle of that with Nova #5-6, written by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning and drawn by Sean Chen & Brian Denham.

Richard Rider, the Nova we all know and love (unless your Nova is Sam Alexander — it’s like the Robins, it’s fun to pick sides), sustained some major damage during his last fight and now lies unconscious on a destroyed Kree outpost.  How sad.  But Worldmind, the super computer living inside his helmet, realizes the Kree can’t protect Nova on their own.  If Rider dies, so does Worldmind. Figuring if something isn’t broke don’t fix it, the computer just makes another Nova.  Meet Ko-Rel, the Kree medic who became a Nova despite Worldmind not doing the whole asking-for-permission thing.

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I know the Cosmic Marvel alien species can be confusing.  Here’s a quick reminder of the big three: Skrulls are green, Kree are blue, and Shi’ar sort of look like human birds.  I know there are exceptions — the Skrulls can change into anyone, some Kree are pink, and the Shi’ar Empire is a collection of hundreds of weird alien groups.  But as a basic rule of thumb, it’ll work.  Oh yeah, and that whole protect Richard Rider thing?  Robots can’t get to him, but it’s not terribly hard for the deadliest woman in the galaxy.

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Now they’re both Phalanx-infested evildoers.  Also, Gamora’s classic costume borders on wildly sexist.  High heels, and essentially a voodoo prostitute’s swimsuit with a cape.  If we’re going to dress the women like that, Rider should be showing one of his balls.  That’s only fair.  Anyway, poor Ko-Rel is tasked with taking down the fully-Nova-powered evil Nova.  If Nova’s the Hulk, then Ko-Rel’s Bruce Banner.  And I’m talking Bruce Banner with all science doohickeys.  It’s more like Rider vs. a Ko-Rel/Worldmind team up.

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Let’s admit it, a rocket chase through the city in a 2D, panel-format is tricky.  Comics do many things better than movies, but chase scenes aren’t one of them.  That said, I applaud this one.  Also, if you want to know why AIs cause so much trouble in the Marvel universe, they have all that ruthless calculating mumbo that we slow emotional humans can’t complete fast enough.  More importantly, remember that scene from The Avengers movie where Black Widow gets trapped in the bottom of the helicarrier with the Hulk?  That same look of fear on Scarlett Johannson’s face applies here for poor Ko-Rel.

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Did I mention Ko-Rel has a son named Zam?  This probably isn’t the best time to bring that up.  But related to the fight, just like how Spider-Man defeats the tougher, bigger opponents, he uses the stuff around him.  Like the technologically-advanced city that’s somehow powered by a volcano or something.

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See Ko-Rel’s proper moral standing?  A inspirational force of good in the infinite darkness of space’s abyss!  As the Phalanx virus corrupts Nova, an ally comes forth who understands and enacts the righteous goals and love of the proud Nova Corps.  Rider doesn’t die, as he still has 30 issues of his solo series left, but how much better will his adventures be with this interesting, complex new Nova at his side?  And of course, by now when I go on long pseudo-poetic tangets of what should be, it’s always the opposite.  Always.  It makes the storytelling plot twist stab-in-the-back far more dramatic, and in this case, literally.

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Luckily, her final words start the slow beginning of freeing Nova from Phalanx’s control, but you can buy the books for that.  So what do the Nova Corps and Green Lantern Corps have the most in common?  Definitely the fatality rate.


Hulk and Thing: a monster conversation

And a monster fight.  I wouldn’t post an article between these two behemoths without some punching involved.  Today, they get some extra therapy in a philosophical conversation between the only two people on Earth who understand what the other is going through.  Mainly being hideous monsters who just want do some good, be left in peace, and not let the self-loathing become overwhelming.  As happy as these two superheroes can eventually be, everything’s always covered in a thin layer of sadness over their unwanted transformation.  Sure, super strength’s nice, but being a Frankenstein-esque/rock creature isn’t.  In Fantastic Four #533-535, written by J. Michael Straczynski and drawn by Mike McKone, our two protagonists bond just a little bit more — in between the fistfight anyway.

Oh, also the government is trying to take away the Fantastic Four’s kids, but I’m ignoring that part.

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Rampaging, out-of-control Hulk lists among the top five worst possible disasters in the Marvel universe (number one is Norman Osborn’s hair — cue rimshot).  Bullets bounce off Hulk, he only gets stronger the longer he fights, and the Hulk could level entire military bases with one good jump.  So time to knock some orange rocky sense into the green monster.

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I don’t know why this Hulk’s grey.  He can talk too.  The color and intelligence level of the Hulk varies practically every other issue.  For now, the gamma bomb explosion made him grey and smart.  I do apologize, because the fight lasts a good issue and a half, but I’m going to skip most of that too.  I’m not a total jerk: here’s a small taste.

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Ben Grimm brings up our theme today: monsters.  No matter how good the intentions, no matter how noble the actions, the Thing and Hulk will always leave some sort of destructive mess in their path. That’s just part of the price of being super strong brawlers.  But as the gamma bomb makes the Hulk hallucinate green thoughts, we get a deep look at the inner pain our poor Hulk goes through.

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Brilliant writing.  Of all the people in the universe that the Hulk hates, of course he hates himself the most.  Can any superhero compete with the Hulk in sheer number of accidental civilian deaths?  With the Thing, we all agree that he’s making the best of a terrible situation, but with the Hulk, a genuine question needs to be asked: has the Hulk been a force of more good or bad in his life?  Not the genius scientist Bruce Banner, I’m talking about the Hulk.  That green rage monster that wipes out towns whenever someone bullies meek Banner in a diner.  The Avengers nowadays mostly just point Hulk in the right direction, using him as a weapon to toss at tough opponents rather than a valued ally and component of the team.  I mean, I’m generalizing here, but it’s an interesting question to ponder.

One question we do know the answer to though?  Nothing can kill the Hulk.  Part of the Hulk’s pain and major appeal is the doomed-to-walk-the-Earth-forever thingie because of his almost-invulnerability. Yet I admire those who try anyway.

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The day I stop reading comics is the day I’m no longer delighted by a giant full-page fire blast.  Spoiler alert: never.  Y’see, today the Hulk learns acceptance.  And that’s something the Thing learned a long time ago.  One can’t walk around for a decade as the Thing without understanding how to live daily life as an ugly, dangerous, clumsy, frightening, frustrated rock monster.  The Hulk can’t die and the Thing can’t be cured.  They simply learn how to adapt.  When they’re not saving the world.

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I guess the article title’s misleading, as their conversation only takes place in the last three pages of the arc.  It’s still important, so read it twice.  I had trouble getting the nuances of it the first time around.

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On an interesting note, this issue was published the exact same month Planet Hulk started (the whole shoot Hulk into space to be someone else’s problem solution).  It’s a fun little meta joke.  On Friday, we return to Cosmic Marvel once more for a Nova versus Nova fight!


She-Hulk vs. Super-Skrull’s parenting, Pt. 2

As we concluded our first part, She-Hulk and her Skrull bounty hunting partner Jazinda had kidnapped a major Skrull religious leader in an attempt to halt the Skrull invasion of Earth.  From Skrulls.  While the plan went off magnificently (with some involvement from X-Factor), only one more obstacle stands in the way of our two green heroines: Jazinda’s daddy.  Jazinda betrayed the Skrull people, and unfortunately, Papa Jazinda must be the one to murder her to save all that pesky honor and whatnot. Today, we’ll read the conclusion of She-Hulk and Jazinda versus the Super Skrull.  Has Kl’rt learned anything from these past few years of war and trauma?  Has the Annihilation Wave and his time with Nova taught him anything?  Is he still a remorseless supervillain who’ll stop at nothing to massacre his only remaining family?  I mean, I already know the answer, but I like to build suspense.

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Indulge me while I talk about myself for a moment.  I’ll hit my 400th article next Friday, and besides the writing experience, I’m most proud of how much appreciation I’ve gained for the slew of B- and C-list characters I’ve learned and read about.  Like Ursa Major, Amadeus Cho, Jack Flag, Moon Knight, Taskmaster, Black Mask, Lady Shiva, Wildcat, and even Hawkman.  I adore these character who two years ago I wouldn’t have recognized if you forced me at gunpoint to memorized their entire Wikipedia entries.  Now I add Super-Skrull to that list.  His minor supervillain status hasn’t changed.  He still gets treated as a joke in the Marvel Universe.  His name will always be silly.  But I’m a fan — forever. If today’s article hasn’t convinced you yet about the Super-Skrull, then go be a Negative Nancy somewhere else.  I’m biased now.

I know She-Hulk’s getting dressed in the first two panels below, but she wears jeans, not spandex.

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She-Hulk takes the Thing’s place on the Fantastic Four roster whenever he quits or stomps off on his own for a while.  Same basic powers (super-strength/super-durability).  Unfortunately, the Super-Skrull has the Thing’s powers along with the other three members, so it’s not so much a fight between She-Hulk and Super-Skrull as a frantic search for She-Hulk to hold out until Jazinda’s safe. Spoiler alert: there’s a snag in that plan — turns out spaceships aren’t great boats.

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I’m skipping the flashback of Jazinda’s treachery, but I’ll give you a brief summary.  Jazinda and her team broke into a Kree base to steal back a precious Skrull artifact.  Faced against odds that would have surely killed her, she swallowed this Skrull gem, rendering herself immortal.  The mission failure, eating the gem, and fleeing the judgment of the Skrulls — those all pretty much doomed Jazinda to be a fugitive for the rest of her life.  And it’ll be a very long life, being immortal and all.

The Super-Skrull and She-Hulk battle each other as comics demand, but every great fight demands a philosophical discussion between punches.  By the way, She-Hulk is mean.  Like movie-lawyer-about-to-play-the-trump-card mean.

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Of course She-Hulk makes some great points (and maybe sprung a tear from poor Super-Skrull), but she’s wrong about that age-old dilemma of duty versus family.  That’s not why he has to kill Jazinda. It’s always been about legacy — the theme that started our two weeks of articles and ends it today. His son was supposed to be the torchbearer of Kl’rt’s family.  The kid rocked.  But with his death, only the daughter is left — a daughter that oozes betrayal and deceit into the bowels of the Super-Skrull’s proud legacy.  His name and heroic actions will live on in Skrull history books, but so will Jazinda. Only by making things right (brutal murder) will his legacy’s honor be restored and his heroism remain untainted.  So in summary: it’s an uphill battle for She-Hulk.

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And She-Hulk’s psychological assessment of Super-Skrull nailed the other major theme of the past two weeks: failure.  The Super-Skrull’s a supervillain.  The definition of that word ensures that he loses battles far more often than he wins them.  His reputation caught up to him.  He knows full well what the Marvel universe thinks of him.  He failed in saving his son and the millions living on that planet.  He failed when he trusted the wrong Skrull as his protégé and solider-in-arms.  He failed as he watched his empire become a horde of religious zealots.  As the most powerful Skrull in the galaxy, all the Super-Skrull seems to do is lose.  But with Jazinda, finally he can win.  She-Hulk can’t stop him.  He and the Skrull Talisman will kill his daughter and the Super-Skrull leaves Earth victorious.  But you know how this goes.  At what price?

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At the cost of his legacy and his continued existence as a failure, he gained something much more important: redemption.  I know, that was cheesy.  I’m sorry.  But wasn’t that a satisfying ending?  This was six years in the making, five brilliant writers, seven gorgeous artists, and everything came back around in a perfect full circle.  We saw the Super-Skrull evolve into a character rich with layers and complexity — it’s beautiful.  All I hope is that the next time you see him grace the comic book pages, you have a newfound appreciation for this angry green Fantastic Four-ripoff.  I do, but I already told you I was biased.

 


She-Hulk vs. Super-Skrull’s parenting, Pt. 1

While the Super-Skrull doesn’t arrive on Earth until Secret Invasion, we’re going to go back about a year before the Marvel event took place to follow whatever She-Hulk’s (real name Jennifer Walters) up to during that time.  It’s bounty hunting.  I know she’s a lawyer by trade, a lawyer in the first twenty issues of the volume we’re reading today, and a lawyer currently in her ongoing series.  But she’s taking a break — mainly due to her being disbarred.  Long story.  Anyway, using the following issues, we’re going to tell our final piece of that beautiful Super-Skrull puzzle we’ve been putting together the past two weeks.
She-Hulk #24, written by Peter David and drawn by Shawn Moll
She-Hulk #26, written by David and drawn by Moll & Val Semeiks
She-Hulk #27, written by David and drawn by Semeiks
She-Hulk #32, written by David and drawn by Vincenzo Cucca
She-Hulk #33, written by David and drawn by Cucca

Like all Hulks, She-Hulk can transform from her human to green form at will.  Unlike her bigger, angrier cousin, she retains all her intelligence and doesn’t need any certain emotions to trigger the transformation.  She definitely got the better Hulk deal — and she saves majorly on the cost of pants.

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Allow me to introduce Jazinda, a Skrull hiding out on Earth away from the prying eyes of all governments and space empires.  During Secret Invasion, Mr. Fantastic (of course) invented technology to detect Skrulls when shape-changed, but currently Jazinda can’t be found out unless she shows off her pointy ears and bumpy chin in public.  Also, I’m not certain, but Jazinda may be the only Skrull to have an actual head of hair.  Remember Super-Skrull’s wife?  That woman could only keep her head warm with those sexy tentacles of hers.  In summary, I have no idea what Skrulls find attractive about other Skrulls.

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You’ve noticed that She-Hulk’s comics come across with a radically different tone than her cousin’s comics.  It’s not to say that She-Hulk’s not filled with all the self-loathing and psychological nightmares that make Marvel superheroes so great (my goodness, is she a mess), but She-Hulk allows herself to have more fun than most other superheroes.  Most likely due to her being seven feet tall, practically invincible, and without the constant worrying of her supporting cast that plagues so many of her fellow superheroes.  But Jazinda’s our focus today, and trust me, if anyone can understand Roz’s daddy issues, it’s Jazinda.

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In a morally suspicious plan, she gets Roz’s dad to care about his daughter again.  It’s an uncomfortable scene, but much like her father (who c’mon, you’ve figured out by now) her morality borders on that very thin line between total selfishness and the greater good.  Still, we trust She-Hulk’s judge of character, and Jazinda’s intentions definitely mean well.  Y’know, good intentions through trauma infliction.

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You wonder why the Super-Skrull never mentioned his daughter when he tried so valiantly to save his son?  Well, one’s his legacy that will immortalize and inherit all the spoils and glories of the Super-Skrull’s triumphs.  The other’s a dirty Skrull Benedict Arnold who shall only receive an impalement from her father instead of that hug she so obviously needs.  Why is she a traitor, you ask?  It has to do with this confession in the next few pages.  Not the bear stuff.  I just wanted to show you She-Hulk’s opponent chuck a bear at her.

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Allow me to briefly cover the She-Hulk/Iron Man feud.  First, it’s bitterness over the aftermath of the Civil War.  Second, they slept together, and he briefly took away all her superpowers.  Well, he’s sorry, okay?  More importantly, I like to think that Jazinda was so unable to handle real emotional talk from She-Hulk that she had no choice but to interrupt the conversation with a discussion-changing secret.  The real reason probably lies in She-Hulk admitting she trusts Jazinda and the poor Skrull realizing she hasn’t been totally honest with her friend about her immortality, but either theory works. Personally, I’ve always been partial to stunted emotional failings in my characters.

Okay, let’s jump to Secret Invasion.  Y’know, when the Skrulls invaded Earth and Jazinda knew about the invasion ahead of time and didn’t tell She-Hulk about it.  So in an effort to strike a blow at the Skrull army, She-Hulk and Jazinda capture one of the Skrull’s major religious figures.  For morale-busting purposes.

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That may be the only time history that the head of a major empire-consuming religion has been tied up in a trailer home.  Also, She-Hulk and Jazinda wear the same outfit now.  But I know what you’ve been looking forward to: the daddy and daughter reunion.  That’s for next time, though good news to end with today — our supervillain has arrived to reunite with his sole remaining child.  Well, to kill her.  He did mention that in the hologram message thingie earlier.  On Monday, we wrap a bow on our Super-Skrull saga once and for all.

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Nova and Super-Skrull’s jungle adventure

After the Annihilation Wave almost destroyed all civilization, the Skrull empire collapsed.  Warlords fought among themselves for control and whatnot.  It happens.  When the Skrull empire gets carefully pieced back together in that fragile manner diplomacy and lasers can accomplish, it’s time for them to show their superiority once more.  They decide to invade Earth.  Secretly.  Hence begins the Marvel event Secret Invasion in which many of our favorite superheroes were secretly replaced with Skrulls over the past few months.  Now, no one knows who can trust — shapeshifters can be sneaky.  But we’re not talking about Secret Invasion today.  Instead, we’re going to take a look at a scene across the galaxy from Nova #16-17, written by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning and drawn by Wellinton Alves & Geraldo Burges.

Nova Richard Rider checks out a distress signal on a distant planet.  Nova responsibilities beckon.

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So yeah, Skrull ambush.  They might not have super-durability, but they always land the first strike. Also, remember a few articles back when I went on about Nova’s computer Worldmind?  It’s on the fritz, as you’ve noticed, so all the cool energy blast stuff he does must be done vocally and slowly. Nova still contains the full power of the Nova force, making him more powerful than a human atomic bomb, but currently it’s a frustratingly slow bomb.

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Ah, there’s our dear supervillain.  After the Annihilation Wave, what else would the Super-Skrull do except rejoin the military?  Even saving hundreds of possible worlds from the Harvester of Sorrow as well as joining the main strike team that brought down Annihilus and Thanos isn’t going to sway the minds of Skrull past.  Old men who do super heroic stuff are still old men.  Plus, as you’ll soon find out, the new Skrull boss definitely isn’t the same as the old boss.  I’m skipping the fight scene, but it ends with this:

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Nova and Super-Skrull don’t qualify as friends.  They have been allies briefly (Nova led that main strike team), but superheroes and supervillains can’t get along for long when they disagree on the very moral fibers that justify their existences.  All great relationships between good and bad guys eventually sizzles: Professor X and Magneto, Thing and Sandman, Human Torch and Daken, etc.  On a related note, if you ever google “johnny storm darken” be prepared for a onslaught of creepy fanfiction.  Spoiler alert: the two do a lot of staring into each other’s eyes.

Anyway, the Super-Skrull’s character development during his miniseries continues to hold.  The new Super-Skrull still retains all his supervillainy, but now we can focus on a more philosophical supervillain.

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I get Nova’s hesitation.  The Skrulls currently barrage Earth and the Super-Skrull requests that he be allowed to travel to the battleground.  Y’know, as in Nova hand-delivering the most powerful of all Skrulls to help the Skrulls conquer Nova’s home planet.  But we know something Nova doesn’t: this isn’t the same Super-Skrull of the past.  He’s grown as a person.  He lost his son, he lost his protégé, and his reasons for going to Earth don’t involve spearing Earthlings while cackling manically.

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He’s lying (sorta) about the daughter part, but that’s for Friday and Monday’s articles.  Most importantly, why shouldn’t Nova trust Super-Skrull?  The supervillain learned quite a bit about the heartbreak of betrayal during the war.  He witnessed firsthand the trauma of his closest ally selling him out and the price to be paid.  As they arrive in Earth’s orbit, of course it’s Nova and Super-Skrull together as a new partnership against the brutality and zealousness of the new Skrull empire.

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Oh.

Well, moral righteousness takes more than one bad day to learn, huh?  Though if the Super-Skrull wants to make an entrance, destroying the sole remaining Nova in front of his peers will certainly help bring back some of that lost reputation.  The combined powers of the Fantastic Four doesn’t make someone the Fantastic Four, I guess.  Goodbye, Nova, I’ll miss you.

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Aw, the Super-Skrull has become a slightly better person.  Very slightly.  Very, very slightly.  Like the final text box states, we’ll find out in our dramatic conclusion next time within She-Hulk #32-33. Get ready for some green-on-green punching.


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