The Super-Skrull saves the galaxy, Pt. 3

Supervillains lose a lot.  It sort of goes with the profession.  How many times would the galaxy be wiped out without superheroes kickin’ butt every time a bad guy rears his or her head?  But sometimes, we get these special character moments where the baddie puts aside his or her loser nature, embraces redemption, and fights to protect and save all that is precious to him or her.  The Super-Skrull did that.  And he still lost.

In a heartbreaking plot twist, the young Skrull mechanic the Super-Skrull attempted to turn into a soldier (complete with discipline, ferocity, and an unrelenting brutality) backfired completely when our protagonist pushed too hard and caused his protege to betray him.  Now the Super-Skrull’s son — along with millions of innocent Skrulls — died when the Harvester of Sorrow exploded the planet Zargaz’na.  We pick up our story with the captured Super-Skrull and his allies facing the full brunt of their horrific defeat.

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Now with nothing to lose, the Super-Skrull plans to smear the blood of his enemies across the spaceship floors like the corridors are flooding bug guts.  Not one gut will be spared.  He is a supervillain, after all.  Escaping turns out to be no problem.  Remember back to his very first story back in 1963?  Aside from the combined powers of the Fantastic Four, he possesses one more ability none of them have: mind control.

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You could say his proclamation at the end is a giant face slap of negativity making Kl’rt a huge hypocrite, but we’ll ignore all that.  So that attractive robot lady of his is like a energy reactor or something (I’m not great at science).  If she unleashes all her power at once from the inside of the ship, it might still destroy the Harvester of Sorrows.  It’ll also kill her and everyone else on board, so the Super-Skrull might just be stating facts instead of contradicting himself.  The robot and the pudding monster start to clear a path without our dear supervillain — he has something else he needs to take care of.

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Y’see, poor R’kin hated the Super-Skrull so much (for surprisingly legitimate reasons) that he failed to actually listen to the Super-Skrull when the supervillain talked.  The whole plan to destroy this battleship came with two goals: to ensure his son’s legacy as the child of a hero and to die spectacularly in battle.  The Super-Skrull has been pretty open about the notion of him martyring himself.  We remember the heroes that died saving the Marvel universe far more fondly than those that continued to punch bank robbers well past their spotlight.  So yes, R’kin’s plan is a logical one, and yes, it does appeal to the Super-Skrull’s well-known moral ambiguity.  But y’know how this’ll work out.

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With the child doomed and his revenge completed, it’s time to take out this Harvester of Sorrow for real this time.  And honestly, what other way did you possibly think it was going to go?  But take note: maybe a tiny sliver of R’kin’s argument got through to that cold, angry Super-Skrull heart.

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You can click on the picture above for a larger version.  The kiss isn’t as weird as you think — I didn’t show you an earlier scene where Praxagora came onto him romantically and he violently rejects the robot’s intentions.  With the battleship destroyed, the Super-Skrull saved hundreds of worlds from destruction — it’s not like that thing was going to ever stop.  Mission complete.  Success!

Let’s play a game.  How long do you think the Super-Skrull’s death lasted?  Norman Osborn’s death lasted a few decades.  Bucky Barnes’ got in a good forty years.  Gwen Stacy is still dead from 1973. Even Sabretooth held out for five years.  So any guess on the Super-Skrull?  C’mon, you have an estimate?  Spoiler alert: three months.  He died in September 2006 and returned to the living in December 2006.  Let’s take a look at it from Annihilation #2-3, written by Keith Giffen and drawn by Andrea DiVito.

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Like all good cat fights, this one gets interrupted by an enemy attack.  Also, Gamora would have decimated Praxagora.  During the two issue battle in which you have that glorious moment where Drax holds back the entire Annihilation Wave by himself, some weird voodoo thingamajigs go on in the background.

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Yup.  That’s my all-time favorite reason for a character returning to life: “We’d like to explain it, but we’re busy  Uh, how about magic?”  Either way, our story ends here.  On Wednesday, we pick up in the aftermath of Annihilation as Nova and Super-Skrull team up.  It’ll serve as a bridge article for our big two-part finale where I promise everything gets wrapped in a wonderfully satisfying bow.


The Super-Skrull saves the galaxy, Pt. 2

The only hope to save the Skrull planet of Zargaz’na lies in the hands of Skrull traitor/washed up war hero Kl’rt (y’know, the Super-Skrull).  The guy’s tough, but he’ll need an army to protect the planet and defeat the Harvester of Sorrow, a gigantic battleship that can destroy planets and other terrible things. So far, his army consists of himself and a small Skrull child.  Not a great start.

Today, our protagonist mounts his initial attack on this bug-carrying behemoth.  After a recruiting drive.  And remember the little Skrull mechanic who wanted to follow his father’s commander and his personal hero?  It turns out that the “super” part of Super-Skrull’s name is short for supervillain.

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R’kin (the kid’s name) might be looking at Super-Skrull in black-and-white terms.  I mean, the Super-Skrull reeks of evil and his ruthlessness is only matched by his apathy in those who care about his ruthlessness.  But the child constantly ignores the part Kl’rt keeps bringing up: he’s doing this for his son.  Millions of innocent Skrulls (and his son) live on this planet that will be wiped out within weeks by the Annihilation Wave and only the Super-Skrull seems to care about preventing this disaster.  So yes, the Super-Skrull’s methods tend to border on supervillainy, but his reasons for this supervillainy are not evil.  It’s complicated, but remember that R’kin, who narrates our story, oozes with bias.

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Also, before we all agree that the Super-Skrull seeks to destroy the Harvester of Sorrow out of the goodness of his heart, he does intend to leave behind a legacy as an immeasurable hero of Skrull culture whose tale will live on for thousands of years in history books.  Supervillains’ selflessness can only go so far.  Oh, and he gets his army.

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This miniseries accomplishes something incredible: within four issues, they bring so much character development to the Super-Skrull that everything we know and feel about the supervillain permanently changes.  And still persists to this day.

Look, he has simple origins.  The Fantastic Four need more bad guys?  Okay, what about they fight a one-man Fantastic Four?  Boom, solid story idea.  But we all forget that those characters who don’t look like humans (usually aliens) lead just as rich and complex lives as our Earth characters.  Maybe even more so with the whole galaxy at their beckoning.  So yes, the Super-Skrull is evil.  But like any good drill instructor — prove your worth, stand proud, and trust in his motivations — you’ll have a powerful ally fighting by your side.

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I remember an article someone wrote about Garth Ennis’ Punisher run.  As a superhero, the Punisher is cool, but not exactly interesting in the long term.  He has no insecurities, is driven by one solitary goal, and has a fairly boring personality.  I love the Punisher, but Ennis accomplished a sixty issue run on the title by compensating for his protagonists’ faults through the Punisher’s villains. Each bad guy is dynamic, with amazing personality quirks, powerful back stories, and creative dialogue/actions that molds some of the scariest villains in Marvel history.  We as readers eat that stuff up.

The big four: Magneto, Green Goblin, Doctor Doom, and Loki all epitomize complicated and fascinating baddies — it’s a testament to their popularity and longevity (though currently only one of them is still a full-time supervillain).  Remember how Amazing Spider-Man #617 and #625 turned Rhino from fifty years of being a dumb brute into the three-dimensional, heartbreaking character we feel so strongly about now?  It’s storytelling at its finest, and now we can witness Super-Skrull’s well-deserved moment.

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Redemption, y’know?  It’s a common theme, but always a phenomenal storytelling tool.  And now Super-Skrull can make up for his five decades of comic book embarrassment in one single heroic fight.  The Super-Skrull may be going up against a force of millions with his own eight person army, but we know about the benefits of proper planning and scientific advantages.  Mr. Fantastic taught him that lesson dozens of times.  Witness the Super-Skrull versus the Harvester of Sorrow:

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Ouch.  R’kin, despite his and his former hero’s faults, could have formed that parent-child/mentor-student relationship so common in comics.  In time, R’kin would get his own miniseries or join a cool superhero team.  Like Wolverine and Jubilee.  Drax and Cammi.  Every DC superhero and their teenage sidekicks.  But no dice for Super-Skrull and R’kin, because the child just did something unforgivable — an act that out-evils the Super-Skrull.  Not the betrayal.  I’m talking about this:

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On Monday, vengeance will be brought.  As scary as superheroes can be when they have nothing to lose, nothing compares to that same rage from a supervillain.  Spoiler alert: it’s going to be bloody.

 

 


The Super-Skrull saves the galaxy, Pt. 1

Thanks to the Marvel event Annihilation, Cosmic Marvel characters gained a much needed shot in the arm of popularity space juice or whatever they inject.  Obscure characters got resurrected and more well-known characters embraced the added screen time.  This bodes well for our protagonist during the next two weeks: Kl’rt, the Super-Skrull.  You know, like a normal Skrull but super.  Over the next three articles, we’ll cover his solo miniseries in Annihilation: Super-Skrull, written by Javier Grillo-Marxuach and drawn by Gregory Titus.  Because it’s great and I love it.

Before all that, how about Super-Skrull’s origin?  If we have to classify him, he belongs to the Fantastic Four’s rogue gallery.  They have a reputation of beating up aliens whenever try to conquer Earth, including the Skrulls in their first comic appearance.  While Skrulls can shapeshift into whatever they want, they don’t have any special abilities beyond that — so the Skrull empire created one who did.  From the classic pages of Fantastic Four #18, written by Stan Lee and drawn by Jack Kirby, meet the soldier Kl’rt, who becomes the Captain America of the Skrulls:

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The Super-Skrull premiered in September 1963, the same month as the very first X-Men comic. And to be fair to the Thing, he can totally lift over 100 tons now, but because you can’t really give stats to fictional characters in an ever-evolving comic book universe, the strength-limit of superheroes is a useless stat.  Some are strong and some are really strong.  But there you go: the Super-Skrull is a normal Skrull with the combined power of the Fantastic Four.  How does he do in his first fight?  Of course he wins the initial bout, as all supervillains tend to do, but then Mr. Fantastic does that silly thing where he defeats his enemies by being way, way smarter than everyone else.  Oh, and if the art isn’t key to how old this comic is, notice Thing’s Vincent Price reference:

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Y’see, here’s the conundrum of the supervillain.  Practically every bad guy overpowers their respective superhero, but comic book characters live in a world where good will always if not eventually triumph over evil (as it should be).  So despite the Super-Skrull being the toughest, meanest, and most powerful Skrull in the Marvel universe, his track sheet only marks down loss after loss after loss.  It’ll come back to haunt him, but for now, time to jump into the middle of the Annihilation war.

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The dude’s a middle-aged man now.  If we assume the Marvel universe is on a sliding scale of ten to fifteen years, that’s a decade and a half of the Super-Skrull fighting in every skirmish, conflict, and war in modern Marvel history.  He has a reputation, y’know.  And that’s kind of where the problem lies.  I mean, the Fantastic Four defeated Galactus — the Super-Skrull is all four of them rolled in one, but when he announces above that he “[doesn't] care much for anyone’s opinion but [his] own,” well, that’s a lie.  A big fat lie.

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Temper aside, the Super-Skrull makes a legitimate point.  The Harvest of Sorrows (called Harvester of Sorrow later), one of the Annihilation Wave’s superweapons, destroys whatever planet it comes across — think of it as a bug version of the Death Star.  It needs to be stopped, especially for Skrull history to remain intact and kickin’.  But that’s the thing about the Super-Skrull because like most supervillains, his loyalties lie mainly with whatever goal he’s attempting to achieve, not to any specific group of faction.  So in an ironic twist, Kl’rt must kill a whole bunch of Skrulls to save a whole bunch of Skrulls.  Plus he gains a sidekick, the indicator of any successful miniseries.

I’m going to skip his violent escape from the warlord’s ship, but I do want you to start picking up on a constant theme: the Super-Skrull’s obsessed with this idea of a “hero’s death.”  A martyr isn’t remembered for their previous misgivings if their death means something more.  What better way for the Super-Skrull to redeem his years of failure than by saving the Skrull empire with his sacrifice? That’s a bedtime story Skrulls’ll tell their grandkids for centuries.

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A higher stake gets added.  If Super-Skrull fails to destroy the invincible Harvester of Sorrow, his son dies.  His legacy perishes in a bug explosion.  Because he punched a Skrull warlord, Kl’rt can’t recruit a Skrull army of his own.  He’ll have to settle for the second toughest, meanest, and most powerful aliens in the Marvel universe — the Negative Zone prisoners.  After all, the Annihilation Wave all came from the Negative Zone and they’re kicking the galaxy’s butt.

Oh, and know who has the only bug-free portal into the Negative Zone?

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On Friday, the fight against the Harvest(er) of Sorrow(s) begins!


Nova, Cosmo, and the monster on Knowhere

This all indirectly links back to the Guardians of the Galaxy.  Remember Knowhere from the movie? It’s a severed Celestial (a more powerful Galactus-type god thingie) head that houses all sorts of weird people, objects, and ideas.  In the comics, Knowhere serves as the base of operations for our dear Guardians (until the most recent volume anyway).  But before all that happens, it first has to be discovered.  Leave that to Richard Rider, the lone surviving Nova in Nova #8-9, written by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning and drawn by Wellinton Alves.

Before that, let’s get into some Richard Rider history.  I’ve mentioned before that the Nova Corps acts as Marvel’s Green Lantern Corps, and even Rider’s origin story pretty much mimics Hal Jordan’s. Ready for this?  A dying Nova Corps member named Rhomann Dey hovers in his spaceship near Earth, where he uses the last remnants of his power to find an inexperienced replacement on the nearby planet.  He selects Richard Rider, who all of a sudden gains the uniforms and superpowers of Marvel’s space cops.  So let’s not beat around the bush: Richard Rider is Hal Jordan in a different comic book company.  And like Hal Jordan, the galactic threats in space dwarf any minor petty conflicts that happen to be going on Earth.  For comparison, Marvel’s Annihilation event (Drax, Cammi, and all that) occurred at the same time as Marvel’s Civil War.  Watch in Nova #2, written Abnett & Lanning and drawn by Sean Chen, as Nova and Iron Man discuss the difference between those two events:

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The name Guardians of the Galaxy is not a hyperbole.  They legitimately save the galaxy.  Pro- or anti-registration doesn’t really matter when Annihilus and his bug army almost wipes out the entire universe.  I’m just saying Nova’s stakes tend to be a bit higher.  And today, he finds himself stranded on Knowhere.

As Nova stated earlier, he houses the entire Nova Force inside of him, including the super computer Worldmind that contains a planet’s worth of knowledge.  That’s who’s speaking to him in the white and yellow text boxes.

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The city of Knowhere has a fair amount of noise and traffic.  It sits at the edge of space and time, making it a valuable trading hub.  But not right now — a monster lurks the hallways and it’ll be up to Nova and his new ally to stop the creature.  Remember this guy from the movie too?

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Meet Cosmo, a former Russian astro-dog who now acts as the security chief for Knowhere.  The Guardians of the Galaxy use him as their liason and he tags along on a few missions as well, making this Soviet treasure a surprisingly important of the team.  Plus, he’s delightful, right?  Oh, and psychic.  Like Jean Grey if she wore a spacesuit and had someone else pick up her poo.

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So about this monster.  It can’t be captured, turns people into zombies, and kills everyone else.  With the entire Nova Force at Rider’s command, the baddie doesn’t stand much of a chance — except this arc takes place during Annihilation: Conquest, the follow up event to Annihilation.  The Phalanx, former X-Men bad guys and a race of cyborgs, have the ability to infect/control organic creatures. They take advantage of the chaos Annihilation left to use their brainwashing on the entire Kree army, causing a second war to immediately break out.  Then infected Gamora infects Nova.  Bad news.  Luckily, Worldmind can keep the virus from turning Rider into an evil cyborg himself at the small expense of 83% of the total Nova Force.  Rider’s operating on fumes here.

Though first, how about a monster background story?

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The dog saves the whole population.  Of course, that’s all for naught if the two of them can’t defeat this purple energy creature.  Add Nova’s Phalanx handicap and the odds look bleak.  But I did mention previously that Cosmo tags along with some of the Guardians of the Galaxy missions.  The dog doesn’t fight with his sharp wit and inability to use first person when he talks.  No, this is the Jean Grey-ish dog we’re talking about.  It’s not an accident Cosmo became Knowhere’s security chief.

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I’m going to be a jerk and end the story here.  You can buy the book for the rest of it and the creative way Nova defeats this unbeatable monster.  I figured it’d be nice for us to get a glimpse at the comic book version of Knowhere and Cosmo.  To add to your small taste, here’s a bit of Guardians of the Galaxy #1, written by Abnett & Lanning and drawn by Paul Pelletier.  By the way, if you haven’t noticed, these two writers are responsible for a huge chunk of the modern Cosmic Marvel universe. Seriously.  They wrote the series Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as the main writers for the Cosmic Marvel events Annihilation: Conquest, War of Kings, Realm of Kings, and The Thanos Imperative.  In summary, they’re a big deal.  Now two pages of Guardians of the Galaxy #1.

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On Wednesday, get ready for two weeks of the Super-Skrull.  It’ll be life-changing.  Get it?  Because Skrulls can change shape?  I apologize for nothing.


Guardians of the Galaxy vs. Angela

Brian Michael Bendis writes the best dialogue in comics.  Don’t try to convince me otherwise — I’m very biased.  But I read once that someone had the gall to claim Bendis “tells” stories instead of “showing” them.  That’s crazy talk.  His genius extends far beyond the written word into the second most important part of comics: the fights.  Have you read this week’s issue of Miles Moralies: Ultimate Spider-Man #4 yet?  Brilliant battle between Spider-Man and Green Goblin.  It flowed, it made sense, and the art shines.  So keeping with our theme of Guardians of the Galaxy, how about another example of Bendis’ fight scenes from Guardians of the Galaxy #5-6, drawn by the equally phenomenal Sara Pichelli.

While the movie focused on a select five superheroes, the modern team has had a rotating roster since its creation in 2008.  We’ve already mentioned Phyla-Vell and Adam Warlock previously, but characters such as Bug, Jack Flag, Mantis, Moondragon, Cosmo, Captain Marvel, and Venom have also occupied slots on the team.  In our story today, Iron Man has joined our dear quintet for a few issues for a little vacation (that ultimately shatters everything he knew about his past and forever changes the status quo, but that’s another story for another day).

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Meet Angela.  She replaces Iron Man on the team later on.  She first appeared in Image’s Spawn series.  As you know, the other comic book companies aren’t too fond to share their characters — something about profit or whatever.  Todd MacFarlane, who wrote Spawn, asked Neil Gaiman to write an issue during which the two of them worked together to create Angela.  Cue some legal fights over who actually owned the character and in 2012, Gaiman gained full ownership.  Thus when Gaiman returned to Marvel (and hence Marvel buying Angela from him), she could re-spawn (sorry) with a brand new company.  Now she’s Thor’s sister, so she’ll be around for a while.

Oh yeah, and the Guardians of the Galaxy battle her.

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The dialogue on that last panel reference an off-panel scene between Star-Lord and Thanos.  They’re doing their own thing somewhere else right now.  But Angela and Gamora are pretty well-matched, with our antagonist having a slight advantage.  Gamora’s the most dangerous woman in the universe, right?  Angela’s like that, just with a more Xena: Warrior Princess-ish touch.

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That last panel’s great.  You see the oncoming Guardians through the sword’s reflection.  More importantly, see the Star-Lord costume?  No Iron Man today, as the Spartax empire (led by Star-Lord’s dad) wrecked the suit in an earlier issue.  Tony Stark has to slum it as a replacement superhero.

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I want you to click the last page to see a larger view.  Pichelli’s art sparkles here and Bendis’ layout of the page allows a 2-D medium to show the many different moments going on at once.  But the Guardians of the Galaxy aren’t complete without their grumpiest, most shirtless member of the crew. Just remember that Tony Stark wears a highly-evolved metallic armor into combat for him to be effective — not this guy:

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I know we should probably talk about Uatu the Watcher observing the fight with eyes like he just came from an anime convention, but it’s irrelevant to our brawl today.  Look, Angela didn’t exist in Marvel comics before a few issues ago.  She legitimately popped in from nothingness, much like how Batman and Superman exist in a separate DC universe that never interacts or even knows about the Marvel universe unless Jubilee wants to make out Robin or something.  Of course Angela’s entrance would get the Watcher’s attention — that’s most of his job description.  By the way, I know this article will be incredibly out of date in a few months, but here’s my guess on who killed Uatu: Fin Fang Foom. I’ve seen How to Train Your Dragon enough times to know how dangerous those winged lizards are. Especially dragons that wear short shorts.

Anyway, Tony Stark just shot Angela with a space gun.

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For more Angela stuff, read volume three of Guardians of the Galaxy or the ongoing Original Sin miniseries Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm to see her battle Thor, another superhero with equally gorgeous hair.  Also, when you finish that, go read everything Bendis has ever written.  I adore him.


Cammi and the Avengers Arena

After the Marvel event Annihilation wraps up in 2007, the cosmic superheroes change drastically. Star-Lord teams up with Rocket Raccoon and Groot for the first time, bringing in Drax, Gamora, Phyla-Vell, and Adam Warlock less than a year later to form the Guardians of the Galaxy.  Ronan the Accuser briefly rules the Kree empire.  Nova rebuild the entire Nova Corps.  The Shi’ar go to war with the Kree and the Inhumans.  Lots of stuff.  But no Cammi.  She doesn’t show again until 2013.  We’ll first take a look at what she’s been up to in Avengers Arena #3, written by Dennis Hopeless and drawn by Kev Walker.

Quickly, let’s discuss Avengers Arena.  It’s Marvel’s Hunger Games.  Marvel’s Battle Royale.  The supervillain Arcade snags sixteen teenagers and forces them to fight each other to the death.  A simple premise, an always great concept, and an interesting way to bring back characters we thought had disappeared.  The roster includes Cammi, Darkhawk, five from Avengers Academy (Hazmat, Reptil, Mettle, Juston, and X-23), two Runaways (Nico and Chase), and seven brand new characters. Meet the new Cammi, definitely not the same as the old Cammi:

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Yes, space has been good to the rude little girl we last knew.  Two years have past in the Marvel universe, our dear protagonist hitting puberty among space pirates and other outlaws.  What has Cammi accomplished in those formative preteen years?  Well, getting captured by SWORD for one, but it’s not as if we expected Cammi to run an outer space soup kitchen or anything.  Her father figure Drax has been too busy saving the galaxy and knifing bad guys to keep an eye on her.

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Special Agent Abigail Brand of SWORD acts as Nick Fury for anything outside of Earth’s atmosphere. Brand is also Beast’s girlfriend, just so you know.  Want these two lovers’ back story?  Of course you do.  Anyway, y’see, Cammi doesn’t need Drax to continue on that path of her insane fearlessness.  She can finally defend herself beyond provoking Drax into stabbing whoever bothers her.  I’m just saying that while normal 13 year-old girls learn math and science at school, Cammi figured out that while in a gymnastic pose, she could steal fuel from an active, patrolling Sh’iar battleship.  The girl gets a slightly different education for her precious middle school years when she’s unsupervised.

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The self-loathing runs deep in this girl.  That’s one of the requirements for a successful superhero.  For her further adventures as a child with a laser gun against twenty plus teenagers with superpowers, you can read the series.  Most importantly, she survives the ordeal, because we should think of Avengers Arena as the prequel to the next step in these PTSD-laced kids’ journey towards Avengers Undercover, the ongoing series she currently stars in.  Because what happens after a bunch of children have to murder each other?  Remember the reason Hank Pym gave for founding Avengers Academy in the first place: these students — all tortured by Norman Osborn during Dark Reign — were the most at risk of becoming supervillains.  No more Hank Pym now.  Let’s take a quick look at two scenes from Avengers Undercover #1 and #4, written by Hopeless and drawn by Walker.

Oh, on a happier note, Cammi receives a long-awaited reunion:

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So where is she going with all her Avengers Arena buddies?  Well, I’m not going to tell you, but I will say that it rolls into a giant cluster of vengeance, bad decisions, and lose-lose situations.  Look, the kids are too young for the big time superhero teams, none of their school exist anymore, and the idealized adults expect these kids to go back to their normal lives doing normal things after they saw half of their peers die violently on Arcade’s island.  Arcade didn’t smother them with pillows — they all exploded or were hacked apart or blown away.  So as Avengers Undercover progresses past some vengeance, bad decisions, and lose-lose situations, there’s still one organization willing to take these kids in.  To teach them.  To provide for them.  To care for them.  That’s right: the Masters of Evil.

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Three issues left until the series concludes.  But Cammi’ll be in my heart forever.

 

 


Cammi and Drax in space, Pt. 2

Our current favorite duo — Drax the Destroyer, an alien/human hybrid with unbeatable fighting skills, and Cammi, a 10 year-old with both above average intelligence and moral skepticism — get to fight in the Annihilation Wave war.  For those not in the know, Annihilus, the bug ruler of the Negative Zone bug dimension decides to conquer the galaxy with his bug army and whatever else Thanos gives him. It goes badly for our heroes.  But Nova Richard Rider leads the defense with the help of superheroes/villains such as Drax, Gamora, Star-Lord, Ronan the Accuser, Firelord, Red Shift, Stardust, and other minor characters I’ve never heard of.

Note: this all takes place before the Guardians of the Galaxy officially forms (the Star-Lord version of it anyway).  Another note: the Guardians of the Galaxy you loved so much in the theater this weekend formed in 2008.  This team has only been running around the universe for six years, so don’t feel bad if you haven’t heard of them.  Oh yeah, and Cammi and Drax and stuff.  But first, war!

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See Star-Lord?  He’s the cyborg with the robot eye.  He’s been through some tough times.  Anyway, like all good war literature, the vicious battle must be spread throughout moments of quiet reflection. The soldiers calmly eat and hang out in the makeshift camps before dawn breaks and the next battle begins.  I like to think of Cammi and Drax as friends and confidants, but both are so emotionally damaged that I think the push/pull relationship between the two is the closest they’ll get.

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So why does Drax keep an eye on Cammi?  She’s resourceful, but totally useless in a fight.  Most likely, it comes down to Moondragon, Drax’s daughter.  Surprise: Drax isn’t a terribly good parent. Superheroes tend not to be (Batman, Wolverine, Cyclops, Hulk, Catwoman, etc.) with the whole lifestyle of fighting crime against dozens of psychopathic killers.   But like what Wolverine does with young X-Men girls, Cammi can give Drax a second chance to feel those feelings again and whatnot. Protect a child to make up for not protecting his own daughter.  Which brings me to this plot twist:

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Okay, so maybe Drax isn’t Wolverine.  If the Destroyer has to choose between keeping his daughter alive and killing Thanos, the big purple guy drops dead every time.  And Cammi now has an ear to add to her collection of morbid alien mementos.  Moondragon’s capture means the end of Cammi and Drax’s friendship.  I mean, they’ll still stay buddies and all, but it’ll have to be long distance. Remember what Cammi figured out earlier: Drax isn’t fighting to save the galaxy from Annihilus, he’s using the army to get close to Thanos.  And so I present to you, the last time our two ever see each other.  Ever.  It’s amazing, and make sure you read Nova’s commentary.

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So begins the battle of Drax versus hundreds of thousands of Annihilation Wave bugs.  Armed only with a pair of knives and abs too glamorous to hide behind a shirt, our hero selflessly sacrifices himself to protect Cammi, Nova and all his other friends.  That’s just what superheroes have to do, being selfless and sacrificing themselves and fighting the entire enemy force all by their lonesome. Y’know, except not.

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Drax’s character developed by not developing at all.  He won, for one, which alone deserves a standing slow clap.  But like Cammi predicted and Nova got terribly wrong, Drax only stayed behind to break off from the military and sneak into Thanos’ ship.  No sacrifice, no selflessness, but totally fighting the entire bug army himself.

The war continues, but Cammi takes a backseat, as you can imagine from her inability to fight. But don’t worry, as she continues to be a pain in the butt for as long as the others can handle her.  She has a reputation to keep up.

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I won’t spoil any of the last two and a half issues of the Annihilation series for you, but I will provide you with a bunch of teasers to make you angry you don’t own this comic yet.  Also, have you noticed just how grander the stakes are in outer space?  Sure, one of the burroughs of New York might be wiped out if the Avengers don’t hit Kang the Conquerer with a hammer enough times, but if our cosmic superheroes fail, the galaxy blows up.  Things get exciting.

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When the fate of trillions of planets are at stake, even our dear Galactus, Devourer of Worlds, pitches in.  My friends, Cosmic Marvel rocks.  So what happens to Cammi?  We’ll cover her new Drax-less adventures on Wednesday.  Until then, all I can give you is foreboding and Cammi’s new ally: Thanos’ Chaos Mite fairy.

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