Archive for Multiversity

Masters of the Multiverse


The Multiversity #2

It’s the final battle for the survival of the multiverse! The magical heroes of Earth-13 tear through Vampire Sivana and his minions — and convert the vampire superheroes into coffee addicts. The Western heroes of Earth-18 plug Psycho Sivana. And the rest of the multiverse’s heroes — in their own universes and in the House of Heroes — struggle against the forces of the Gentry. Can anyone survive the incredible power of the corrupted Nix Uotan, the Superjudge? Which hero will survive his decapitation? Can an army of superheroes prevail against the end of all that is?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s not perfect, but it’s Grant Morrison writing about cosmic crises and the concept of superheroism overcoming evil, so it’s still pretty dang good. Ivan Reis does a great job with the artwork. And it’s fantastic to get to see these characters again — the horror heroes of Earth-13 need at least a full miniseries of their own, and I’d deeply missed this version of Captain Carrot (It looks like the Zoo Crew is getting predictably mishandled in the Convergence series), and as always, I look forward to a future version of DC Comics that will bring that series back and finally do it justice.


Daredevil #15

Plainclothes Matt Murdock and the Owl’s daughter are working to free the Owl from the Shroud’s clutches — but the Shroud has figured out how to use the Owl’s ability to tap into all electronic communications against them. He starts by tracking them through San Francisco through people’s cell phones, then reveals that Foggy Nelson is alive, then starts revealing all of his legal clients’ secrets. Before long, the police are after him, and he’s faced with the question of having to go into hiding permanently — or turn to his most hated foe for help.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great art, great story. Always raising the bar on the pressure going on here, and the cliffhanger is pretty dang sweet.

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The Apocalypse


The Wicked + the Divine #9

This issue has a lot of emphasis on Ananke, the elderly but immortal guide and guardian of the gods. She comforts 12-year-old Minerva and Baphomet, then conducts an interview with Cassandra Igarashi, Laura’s frenemy, crusading journalist, and rock-solid atheist. Ananke tells Cassandra that the gods and their incarnations on Earth created human civilization, and to make sure that future gods would have someone to guide them and show them the divine ropes, Ananke gave up her godhood and ability to inspire humanity so she could be their guide. And she reveals that it’s time for the long-awaited 12th god to appear. Who will it be?

Verdict: Thumbs up. An absolutely brilliant comic with a shocker twist and a thoroughly “Oh crap” cliffhanger. Are y’all reading this? Y’all should be reading this.


The Multiversity: Ultra Comics #1

Well, this one is just complicated as heck.

Welcome to Earth-33, the world with no superheroes — supposedly, our Earth right here. But we’ve just created our own superhero, and his name is Ultra Comics — a conceptual hero powered by crazy science and dreamed into being by everyone. He’s somehow managed to have adventures during every age of comics. But his latest adventure in a ruined New York is a trap — and so is this comic book! Just by reading along, we, along with Ultra, are being ensnared by forces from beyond. Ultra demolishes a bunch of monster superheroes victimizing a bunch of kids. But there are other forces allied against him — cannibals, massive cosmic supermen, and the Intellectron itself. Is there any way to turn the trap around, or are we doomed to die with the Gentry eating our minds and souls?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A fantastically weird comic with heavy horror overtones. Everyone we meet in this comic is corrupted or destroyed by exposure to the Gentry — and the Fourth Wall is so thoroughly kicked down, from the cover image all the way through — so how lucky do you feel, now that the Gentry has stared into your soul?


Wytches #5

Charlie Rooks is shocked that his wife no longer remembers that they have a daughter — and when he realizes that Officer Petal’s name is on a list of the Wytches’ servants, he manages to get the drop on him and order him to take him to where they’ve hidden Sailor. Petal leads Charlie into the woods and tells him that, thanks to the deal he’s made with the Wytches, he’s unfathomably old and almost immortal. But he shows Charlie to the entrance of their realm, and Charlie readies himself to travel into hell — he arms himself with flares and tainted bullets and covers himself in a foul-smelling substance to mask his scent. Can Charlie make his way to the Cauldron, the deepest, darkest, hottest part of the Wytches’ lair? Can he find Sailor? Can he make it out without a horde of monsters chasing him down?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Dark, claustrophobic, intense horror. We’ve got Scott Snyder’s emotional, suspenseful, gut-wrenching writing combined with Jock’s astonishing artwork. Just one issue left, and it feels like there’s so much more to tell, too…

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Masters and Puppets


Multiversity: Mastermen #1

Welcome to Earth-10. After the Nazis discover a crashed alien ship with a tiny superstrong baby inside, they raise him to be a good National Socialist, and he helps Germany conquer the world in 1956. Sixty years later, the Kryptonian called Overman is still alive, but his cousin Overgirl is dead, he’s having nightmares about a mad haunted house stalking him, his wife hates him, and he’s having terrible regrets about the extremes Hitler’s madness took him to. And his fellow members of the New Reichsmen, including Leatherwing, Brunnhilde, Lightning, and Underwaterman, don’t care about the bodies their empire was built on. But a group of super-powered terrorists, brought together from groups persecuted by the Nazis, are calling themselves the Freedom Fighters, and they intend to bring the Nazi utopia crashing back to Earth.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The corrupted versions of the Justice League are appropriately dislikable, with the exception of Overman — while Superman has normally been the moral center of the Justice League, I’m not sure that a Superman raised from infancy as a Nazi would have much of a moral center left. Still, it all seems to work. I also love the revised version of the Freedom Fighters — these are people who you could make a very enjoyable comic about. And while I’ve mostly gotten tired of the rigid, scowling formalism of Jim Lee and Scott Williams’ artwork, it does seem an appropriate style for a story about Nazi supermen.


Bitch Planet #3

I wasn’t sure about this going in — a full-issue focus on Penny Rolle didn’t interest me a lot because she seemed like such a complete stereotype — the fat, angry, black woman. But this was a lot better than I’d anticipated. We get a short history of Penny, from her childhood. She was taken from her loving grandmother’s home at a young age, mostly because her mother was considered unstable. She was abused in school by her whiter, more fashionable, more authority-worshipping teachers and fellow students. And later, running a muffin shop, when the irritations of Fox News bimbos, racist douchebags, dieting anorexics, and an autocratic society finally push her over the edge.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Again, loved this a lot more than I was expecting. Best thing about it is how just plain decent Penny is. Yes, she’s angry and violent, but she’s angry about the right things, and she’s violent with the right people. She’s not abusive, she’s kind to those who need it, and she’s proud of who she is. I want a whole comic series just about Penny now.


Lazarus #15

The thoroughly rotten Jakob Hock has chosen another family’s Lazarus, Sonja Bittner, as his champion — because he knows she and Forever Carlyle are friends, and he wants to twist the knife. And for the sake of added cruelty, he demands that if Sonja wins, he gets Forever for his own, dead or alive. The battle is bloody and frantic — and Hock has even more plans for evil, whether he wins or loses.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Most of it is a long fight scene, but it’s an excellent fight, and at the end, the Carlyle family is in pretty deep trouble. Gonna be interesting to see what happens next…

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The Superhero’s Guide to the Galaxies


The Multiversity Guidebook #1

It’s Grant Morrison’s long-awaited field guide to DC’s latest version of the multiverse, but luckily, we get some story to go along with it. Part of the tale follows Earth-51, home of the Great Disaster, Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth, OMAC, and the New Gods (in other words, it’s Earth-Kirby), where we follow Kamandi, Ben Boxer, and Tuftan as they look for a lost friend and learn the secret history of the multiverse. But most of it focuses on Earth-42, home of the child superheroes who made their first appearance in an old issue of Superman/Batman before the reboot. They’ve been invaded by the League of Sivanas, and many of them have been killed — but Batman meets up with the Atomic Batman, one of the Atomic Knights from Earth-17, and he learns that he and the rest of Earth-17 hide some sort of terrible secret. What is it? And what is the threat of the Empty Hand?

Verdict: Thumbs up. If you want a guidebook with all-too-brief descriptions of a whole bunch of alternate universes, it’s in here. If you want a nicely Kirbyesque story of Kamandi, it’s here, too. If you want a weird team-up between armored-future Batman and adorable-kid Batman, it’s in here, too. About the worst thing about this is the eight dollar price tag.


Bitch Planet #2

Kamau Kogo is trapped on Bitch Planet, the prison world for inconvenient and unwanted women, accused of killing a fellow prisoner, an abandoned housewife named Marian Collins. She didn’t do it, of course, but the authorities don’t care. However, they’re willing to give her a second chance — if she’ll form a megaton team — the sport of the future, generally played only by men. She initially wants nothing to do with it, figuring it’s just going to be a way for the Powers That Be to humiliate them and provide a twisted object lesson in forced female compliance. But her fellow inmates convince her it could be worth doing. What’s the scheme here?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The first issue just seemed like a weirdly generic space fantasy women-in-prison pastiche — but this one is developing the concept into something a lot more entertaining. I also dig the glimpses we get of life back on Earth, with the dictatorial Fathers lording their power over their cronies.

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Marvels Everywhere!


The Multiversity: Thunderworld Adventures #1

Welcome to Earth-5, home of Captain Marvel and the rest of the Marvel Family! But it might be the end of everything — Dr. Sivana has a terrible new scheme involving building himself a new Rock of Eternity and using the amazing element Suspendium, harvested from other multiverses from dozens of alternate Sivanas, to create a new day where he can rule everything — Sivanaday! After capturing the wizard Shazam, Sivana empowers his own children with Marvelesque powers. Luckily, Cap isn’t on his own — Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel Jr. soon make an appearance — but the Sivanas have also released the Monster Society of Evil. The Lieutenant Marvels, Uncle Marvel, and Talky Tawny show up to lend a hand, but Cap needs to get to the Rock of Eternity to see if he can help the Wizard. But when Dr. Sivana turns himself into the all-powerful Black Sivana, is there any chance for good to triumph over evil?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Thumbs way, way, way up. I haven’t enjoyed a comic this much in a long, long time. It’s really, really wonderful to see a DC comic starring the classic Captain Marvel — and not that brooding, hooded non-entity “Shazam.” (Do you think DiDio, Lee, and Johns ever sit up late pondering how badly they screwed that character up? Or do you think they just congratulate themselves for helping make comics more mundane and quasi-edgy?) Even the new spins we get on the classics, like Sivana’s superpowered kids, the dizzyingly wide variety of alternate-universe Sivanas, and the Lieutenant Marvels flying around with jetpacks and rayguns, just make everything even more fun. And it’s all topped off with Cameron Stewart’s outstanding artwork. If you love Captain Marvel and if you love fantastic superhero comics, you owe it to yourself to get this one.


Captain Marvel #10

Captain Marvel gets a letter from home, sent from her best friends on Earth — her young fangirl Kit, Spider-Woman, James Rhodes, and her girl friday Wendy. The villainous Grace Valentine escaped from jail, then released an army of mind-controlled rats on the city, all of them aiming at the Statue of Liberty! Once Kit and Spider-Woman stop that threat, War Machine heads after Grace, but gets suckered with a bomb strapped to his back. Can he escape death? Can they bring Grace to justice?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A great, wide-ranging story, with fun art provided by a team of artists, including David Lopez, Marcio Takara, and Laura Braga. Carol Danvers only appears in the framing episodes, but it’s great how the letters from her friends still spotlight her as a important part of these battles, even while she’s nowhere near Earth.


Ms. Marvel #10

The Inventor is powering his machines with local teenagers who he’s brainwashed into believing they’re so worthless that their only real use for society is to be used as batteries. After Kamala has Lockjaw teleport the Inventor’s minions away, she gives the kids a pep talk to convince them they’re all worthy and awesome on their own. But the Inventor captures Lockjaw, and Kamala may not be able to take down the villain on her own…

Verdict: Thumbs up. We get some great superhero moments, some excellent characterization moments (both when Kamala is giving her pep talk, and artistically, as each of the kids gets a great, unique, and interesting look), and some wonderful villainous moments — the Inventor’s schemes are entirely diabolical, and I also love his first giant robot, which wears a jaunty and hilarious derby hat.

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Wonder of Wonders


Sensation Comics #4

Another three stories here — first, we get the continuation of Gilbert Hernandez’s story from last issue. I didn’t enjoy the first part much, but this one is basically Wonder Woman, Supergirl, and Mary Marvel knocking each other around for a half-dozen pages, and it’s basically so over-the-top, it’s completely hilarious. Our second story features Diana grown to a several hundred feet tall to fight a giant monster. And in the third, Wonder Woman, Etta Candy, and Deadman team up to battle Ra’s Al-Ghul.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Again, Hernandez’s story has so many ridiculous punches, and it all ends up so funny. Yeah, Wondy’s arms are maybe a bit too massive, but I found myself a lot more accepting of that when the story was so funny. The other stories are pretty good, too, and they all star pre-Reboot versions of all the characters, which I always approve of.


Revival #25

The bulk of this issue focuses on the facility the feds are using to secretly imprison revivers. The weird reviver cult stages a public protest to publicize its existence, and that leads Sheriff Cypress and his deputies to learn about it, too. Dana learns that Ibrahaim knew about the facility, too, which puts a serious crimp in their developing relationship. Plus the burned assassin reviver attends his daughter’s funeral, and the cult members start nailing themselves to crosses.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Not the greatest issue in the world, but not too shabby either. It’ll be interesting to see what happens now that the government’s plans for the revivers has become more public knowledge.


The Multiversity: Pax Americana #1

Welcome to Earth-4, where the heroes from the old Charlton Comics live, like the Question, Blue Beetle, the Peacemaker, Captain Atom, and Nightshade. But what’s got everyone so upset here is that President Harley has just been assassinated — by the Peacemaker. No one seems to know why, and he isn’t talking. Captain Atom is impossibly aloof and more than a little mad because he can see outside of time and space, and the rest of the heroes are useless in the crisis, spending most of their time in pointless squabbles. Why was the president killed? How much of the murder was President Harley’s own idea?

Verdict: Man, I don’t know. It’s a deeply opaque and moderately irritating story — but really, the whole point here is watching Grant Morrison create his own version of Alan Moore’s Watchmen, right down to the intricate panel/page designs, using the very characters that DC wouldn’t let Moore use for his epic. Is it great storytelling? Is it quasi-ironic postmodernism? Is it just one comics genius sniping at another? I wish I could tell you. But I will say that Frank Quitely’s art is, as always, dang fun to look at.

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Celebrity Justice


Multiversity: The Just #1

Grant Morrison’s multi-dimensional series continues with a visit to Earth-16, where most of the older superheroes are dead or retired. The old Superman robots have wiped out all crime on Earth, leaving the teenaged and young adult superheroes lots of time to party. Damian “Batman” Wayne is dating Alexis Luthor behind Chris “Superman” Kent’s back. Kon-El is trying to make it in the art world, despite the fact that he’s turning into a Bizarro. Connor “Green Arrow” Hawke is worried that his daughter, Cissie “Arrowette” King-Hawke, wants to be a superhero without any training. Megamorpho has just committed suicide, and no one knows why — but it might have something to do with the cursed comic book that she was reading before she died.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I don’t know if Morrison considers this to be his indictment of ’90s comics or just DC’s characters from the ’90s — several of which I’ve always considered really pretty good. But it is a great look at the superhero as pure celebrity and at the shallow cynicism and nihilism of modern celebrity culture.


She-Hulk #9

Someone has sued Steve Rogers — Captain America himself! — for wrongful death! Jennifer Walters has taken the case to defend the now-elderly Cap — and she’s surprised to learn that Matt “Daredevil” Murdock is the opposing counsel! In court, Matt reveals that the case is based on a statement from a dying man, which is considered a dying declaration, and admissable in court. The accuser, Harold Fogler, told that before Steve Rogers got the super-soldier serum and became Captain America, Steve foolishly got Harold’s brother killed when the two of them were cornered by some criminal lowlifes and Steve just refused to shut up, despite a threat from the gang leader that he’d kill the other kid if Steve wouldn’t zip it. It looks really bad for Cap, and he’s refusing to let Shulkie defend him as well as she could. And a late night visit from Daredevil leads to the revelation that Cap told him to take the case. What is Steve’s game? What’s this case really about?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a good story, a bit confusing in parts — but that’s also because we don’t know the full story behind the case yet. The art is, as always, just plain wonderful. It’s hugely disappointing that we only have another three issues of this wonderful series before it gets cancelled.

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The Girl in the Spider Suit


Edge of Spider-Verse #2

Goodness knows there’ve been plenty of women who’ve taken on the mantle of Spider-Man over the years. There’ve been multiple Spider-Women and Spider-Girls and the occasional Araña — but this particular character has really seemed to grab a lot of attention, and though I haven’t been all that interested in the upcoming Spider-Verse crossover, this definitely looked like something worth checking out.

We’re visiting an alternate universe in this story, with an alternate spider-powered superhero. In this case, the person who got bitten by that radioactive spider was Gwen Stacy. She becomes the hoodie-wearing heroine Spider-Woman. Peter Parker, obsessed with getting back at bullies, turns himself into the Lizard, but dies when Gwen subdues him. As a result, she’s wanted by the police, including her father, Police Captain George Stacy. And Gwen tries to work out the frustrations of her life by drumming in Mary Jane Watson’s all-girl rock band, the Mary Janes.

Anyway, while Gwen is busy flaking out on her band, the Kingpin has hired the Rhino (through Matt Murdock — for shame, Daredevil!) to kill Captain Stacy. Can Gwen make it to her gig, save her father, and keep him from blowing her own head off?

Verdict: Thumbs up. There aren’t many characters who’ve gotten as bum a rap as Gwen Stacy — she’s still best known as the original Woman in a Refrigerator, killed primarily to motivate a male superhero. So this issue — giving her some real agency, giving her the real powers, giving her an awesome costume, even giving her an actual hobby, because her only previous hobby was being Peter Parker’s doomed pretty girlfriend — this is something that’s really kinda glorious.

I’d love to see her — and her entire supporting cast and universe — in an ongoing series. And frankly, if that’s not already in Marvel’s plans, they’re completely out of their minds. Buzz for this single issue has been incredible, and no smart publisher lets that much positive attention fade away.


The Multiversity: Society of Super-Heroes: Conquerors from the Counter World #1

Alright, that’s gotta be the grand prize winner in the over-long title contest, don’t it?

On Earth-20, a great world war has just ended, and the planet’s greatest heroes — two-fisted spellslinger Doc Fate, roving adventurer Immortal Man, the barnstorming pilots of the all-girl Blackhawk Squadron, the sweater-vest-wearing Mighty Atom, and demonic-in-appearance Abin Sur — join together as the Society of Super-Heroes. But terrible challenges are on the horizon — there’s an invasion coming from an alternate universe, with supervillains who are near-perfect opposites of the heroes. Soon, Vandal Savage, Felix Faust, Lady Shiva, Count Sinestro, Blockbuster, and their armies of zombies are on a rampage across the planet. Can anything save them all from the unstoppable threat?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s grand pulp adventure, the kind of thing no one publishes anymore. Loved the characters (well, other than Count Sinestro, who we meet for just a single panel when he’s already unconscious, but I bet he woulda been fun), loved the dialogue and story, and of course, Chris Sprouse’s art was wonderfully pulptastic.


Shutter #6

Kate Kristopher and her surprise baby brother Chris are on the run. Ekland and Shaw are assigned to capture them alive — but that doesn’t turn out real well for them. Kate forces Ekland to tell her who hired her — and in answer, she hands over her phone and tells her if she calls the only number on the phone, the client will be able to track her. Kate decides to bargain with the client — and discovers that the client is very, very, very bad news.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Wildly weird and violentastic. And the cliffhanger is a real jaw-dropper. It sucks that we’re going to have to wait ’til December to find out how this turns out.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • Our friend SpaceBooger has had a hectic life lately — but it sounds like things are going great right now.
  • A great long-read on the history of Wonder Woman and her original creators.
  • Writers who get mad at tropes are as nutty as people who get mad about breathing air.
  • Twitter users help track down a bunch of gay-bashing preppies.
  • Zoe Quinn writes for Cracked about what it’s like to be the target of the #GamerGate douchebags.
  • And speaking of #GamerGate, those guys are so nice and wholesome, they went and called in bomb threats on an award presentation that wasn’t being douchebaggy enough for them. You can always trust terrorists, right?

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Across the Multiverse


Multiversity #1

Nix Uotan is the last Monitor, operating as a multiversal superhero called Superjudge. While answering a distress call from Earth-7 with his sidekick, Mr. Stubbs the Pirate Monkey, he finds a world ruined, with only one superhero left, the Thunderer, an Aboriginal Australian and thunder god laboring under intense psychic attack by transdimensional monsters called the Gentry. Uotan sends the Thunderer to a place called the House of Heroes while he prepares to battle the Gentry.

Far away, on Earth-23, Superman (also known as the President of the United States, which has got to be the world’s worst secret identity) gets teleported to the House of Heroes, where he meets up with Captain Carrot, the Thunderer, Dino-Cop, Aqua-Woman, Red Racer, and heroes from across the Multiverse. They travel to Earth-8, home of Lord Havok and the Extremists, as well as a bunch of superheroes from Marvel — excuse me, from Major Comics. Lord Havok is about to hatch something terrible from the Genesis Egg — but what horror is going to emerge?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s Grant Morrison writing a cosmic story about weird alternate-universe superheroes, with only a slight connection to the New 52, so he’s going to be playing with a bunch of wild characters and concepts. Superman may be our lead hero, but Captain Carrot is where all the fun is. As I’ve said plenty of times before, I’d love to see a revival — a non-dark-and-gritty revival — of Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew.


Sensation Comics #1

Much like “Legends of the Dark Knight” and the more recent “Adventures of Superman,” this is an anthology series of not-necessarily-in-continuity tales, this time entirely focusing on Wonder Woman.

Our first tale, written by Gail Simone and illustrated mostly by Ethan van Sciver, is set gloriously in the pre-Reboot DC Universe. It has Gotham City’s villains teaming up to (temporarily) take down Batman. Looking for a hero to help get Gotham back under control, Oracle (Yes! Oracle!) gets on the phone and calls in Wonder Woman, who comes in throwing actual Wonderangs. But the villains in Gotham are a lot more uncontrolled than most bad guys, and they don’t generally consider anyone less terrifying than Batman to be a real threat. Can Diana put the scare in Gotham’s villains? Or will she find a third way forward?

The second story is, unfortunately, a much more pedestrian battle against Circe.

Verdict: Thumbs up. That first Gail Simone story is really pretty awesome. And not just because it doesn’t have a single whiff of the New 52 about it. Every bit of it is gloriously put together, and it’s really fun to see Diana out of her element and getting challenged by Batman’s mostly-unpowered rogues gallery. If more of the stories in this series are like Gail’s and less like the predictable and dull Circe slugfest, this is going to really be a great series.


Ms. Marvel #7

Kamala and Wolverine narrowly survive an attack by the Inventor’s gigantic sewer alligator and then start making their way out of the sewer. But it turns out the mad genius wasn’t done with them yet and was just luring them into another trap. Can they escape? Can they free the Inventor’s other victims? And what’s gonna happen after Wolverine deduces her true origin?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Some good action, but most of this issue is pleasantly talky, with Wolverine coaxing more of Kamala’s background out of her. The art is a bit odd in places — a little like the Teen Titans cartoon — but in others, it’s really fun to watch how the dialogue will go crawling up a page as the two heroes climb out of the sewer.


Mighty Avengers #13

The immortal wizard-gods called the Deathwalkers are back, and they have a plan to destroy the world using Blade’s blood. Can Blade break free from confinement? Can Power Man track down where he’s being held? Can the combined forces of the Mighty Avengers of the 1970s and the Mighty Avengers of 2014 defeat the boundless evil of the Deathwalkers and their minions? Or is it already too late for the human race?

Verdict: Thumbs up. For starters, no Greg Land on the art! We’ve got Salvador Larroca, who’s way, way better. The rest of the story is fine, but probably not blow-up-the-house awesome.

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