Last week I covered the opening steps on the path to Marvel’s upcoming Secret Wars. Now, let’s get on to part two.
As before, SPOILERS below the cut.
In New Avengers, the Illimunati are alerted to another Incursion. This one is occurring over Latveria. You know that won’t end well. Taking Black Swan with them, they learn this particular Incursion is coming from a dead world and the invasion of Castle Doom is being done by drones working for a group Black Swan identifies as the Mapmakers. The sky overhead is bright blue instead of deep red, signfying the Mapmakers, who will destroy the world if they find it. The only way to prevent this is to stop any debris from landing in the Incursion zone for the Mapmakers to follow back later.
Oh, they also have to do so without letting Dr. Doom know they’re in the area.
Since the planet is already dead, the Illuminati have no qualms with destroying that Earth before the two meet and both universes die. They do so and believe everything has worked out.
Well, not quite. A single rock from that doomed Earth, a rock that could be used as a homing signal for the Mapmakers, did make landfall. Doom has it. That will bear fruit much, much later.
Doom will of course demand answers. Reed Richards and Dr. Strange will both sit down to dinner with Doom…and tell him absolutely nothing is going on.
Some answers are finally given from Black Swan. She reveals that she serves Rabum Alal. She was a princess on her home Earth but escaped in the Library of Worlds and was inducted into the Black Swan order. Her homeworld was destroyed by magicwelders called the Black Priests. She doesn’t like magic. She says of the Priests that they may not really be alive.
Black Swan never actually lies to the Illuminati, but she does speak cryptically. There’s always the impression she isn’t telling the whole truth, or is holding things back. Of Rabum Alal, she says he was born on an alternate Earth and his birth was so monumental it caused the first Incursion. She believes this much to be true.
She is being secretive, though. The Illuminati are unaware she has been having telepathic conversations with fellow prisoner Terrax.
The White Event
Over in Avengers, the team has finally gotten Nightmask talking in a language they understand.
(As an added bonus, Spider-Man is now a jerk, because he’s become Spider-Ock and no one knows it yet.)
Nightmask informs the Avengers that a White Event, the last one, is coming.
White Events are from Marvel’s attempt to create a second comic book universe, the creatively named “New Universe”. It flopped, but the concepts never really went away. Nightmask was originally a name of a character there, as was a second I’ll be getting to soon.
As it is, tracking a burst of energy, the Avengers attempt to stop the disaster that would be a White Event hitting a populated area. They fail. The Event hits a college.
Hickman did something brilliant here. He showed several vignettes of characters around the college: a pair of lovers, a jock frat boy, a snobby rich kid, a brilliant physics student. In any other comic, one or more of these characters would become the new superhero that the White Event is about to create. The brilliant part is it goes to NONE OF THEM. There was a nondescript fellow named Kevin Connor, who appeared in the background or foreground in each of these scenes. He gained the power.
Kevin is now Star Brand, the other New Universe character name, and he is powerful. He’s also the only survivor of the college. He doesn’t take too well to being confronted by the Avengers and a fight breaks out…a fight where he takes a hit from Mjolinir without taking any noticeable damage and tosses the Hulk into orbit. He’s subdued temporarily when Captain Marvel flies into orbit and tosses the willing Hulk right back at Star Brand.
Nightmask then offers to be Kevin’s mentor and show Kevin just how powerful he is. The two visit Ex Nihilio and Abyss on Mars, then go to the site of one of Ex Nihilio’s biobombs, the one that would grant the Earth sentience. Kevin freaks out at what he sees and accidentally lobotomizes the new lifeform. Then the Avengers show up and manage to take both Nightmask and Star Brand down, before locking them up in an orbital space station Iron Man apparently had lying around.
I’ll cover that next week.
Next week: the Illiminati build things, and the Avengers explore some other sites of biobomb attacks, while AIM gets ready at the site it secured on its own.