Oh those pesky Thors. Tasked with being the “police” of Battleworld, they are one of the truly cool new concepts introduced with Secret Wars. And while there have been lots of Thor’s across Marvel’s multiverse and history to fill up a corps as is, we also get some cool new Thor’s based on the likes of Iron Man and Groot for example. They’ve shown up in pretty much every book so far in one way or another, but they also get a series of their own.
In this episode of “Jimmy’s Way Behind On Deadlines”, I’ll look at that Thor-centric book with Thors #1. I’ll also look at Armor Wars #2 (hey, there’s a James Rhodes Thor on the cover!), Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars #2 and Squadron Sinister #1. As usual, spoilers abound.
Also, if you are like me and haven’t read all of Johnathon Hickman’s Avengers run leading up to Secret Wars, be sure to take Tom’s Road To Secret Wars course at gabbinggeekuniversity.com. The reading materials are online here: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six and Part Seven.
In this issue of CSI: Thor, Ultimate Thor and Beta Ray Thor are investigating a series of murders that have been dubbed an “Allthing”. As in,
“…all hands on deck. Means the case has got to be closed, and closed fast. Before Doom Himself takes an interest. Because when Doom takes an interest is when Thors get stripped of their hammers.”
The body they have found in the domain of Weirdworld has had its head caved in, been dead for months and only moved there recently. Just like the four other bodies they’ve found that week. All women. In fact, all the same woman. Different ages, from different kingdoms, but all the same.
Unfortunately the Thors don’t know who this woman is. So as Ultimate Thor pours over missing persons reports (and pours mead down his throat), Beta Ray Thor goes off to speak to one of his snitches. A bum by the name of Loki.
Back at Valhalla’s Mead Hall, a crack of thunder alerts the Thors to an officer down. The collective make there way to the signal to find Beta Ray Thor barely clinging to life. With his dying breath he reveals the name of the woman to Ultimate Thor. Jane Foster.
Armor Wars #2
There sure do seem to be a lot of murders happening on Battleworld. Thor Jim Rhodes is investigating the murder from last issue of your friendly neighborhood armor wearing Spyder-Man, aka Peter Urich. Up first, an autopsy preformed by Dr. Druid. And step one of that autopsy is removing Peter’s armor. In doing so, Peter’s body is no longer protected from the virus that infects everyone in the domain, and his body is immediately ravaged by the disease. This seems to me like this would make the analysis that much more difficult, but what do I know? I’m not an armored doctor.
Meanwhile Arno Stark and Wilson Fisk have sent a man in a “stealth suit” to sneak into the workshop of Hiri Oshiro. (Us old school types recognize this armor as that of the Marvel hero Stingray, who played a role in the original Armor Wars.) Arno believes Hiri’s work will be the future of Technopolis and he means to seize it before his brother Tony does.
Once inside, “Stingray” deactivates stealth mode so that Arno can evaluate what kind of defenses Hiri has to keep intruders at bay. Stringray holds his own until the hand of the giant suit of armor Hiri had been working on smashes through the wall and grabs him.
Back at Castle Stark, Tony gets a call from Jim Rhodes. They are still working on repairing and decrypting the data from Peter’s armor. The killer knew what he was doing and damaged it to conceal his identity. But they have discovered Peter’s secret…he knew who had infected the city with the virus that forces them all to wear their armor.
While Ryan and I were waiting to watch Terminator: Genisys we had a discussion about this issue:
ryan: Armor Wars 2 continues to impress.
jimmy: And no doubt about the disease being the reason for the suits. They really hit you over the head with that this issue.
ryan: Yeah. And it was on the title page as the reason for the suits. I forgot about that.
jimmy: I noticed that too. There was no similar title page for issue one.
ryan: I like how they explained Peter being special with armor.
jimmy: And the “Well, duh” reaction to that.
When’s the last time you read a Dr Druid appearance? And I loved the callback to the original Armor Wars by having Stingray appear.
ryan: I don’t know Dr Druid. The name was dropped heavy so I figured it was someone others would know. And good call on Stingray. I forgot all about the original armor wars after the first issue.
Does kingpin have to buy new suits of armor when he gets bigger or do they grow?
jimmy: Haha, that’s probably why he is in the business of killing people. To take their armor to build around his gut.
As for Druid, I’m sure Tom could give you a history lesson, but he was an Avenger way back in the day.
ryan: Seemed like a bad way to do an autopsy by removing the armor. The virus looks to do more damage even after death than whatever killed him.
jimmy: I thought that too. “There goes all the evidence.” It was telling though that the instant the suit was removed the disease did it’s thing.
ryan: So did Doom infect them to spur innovation? Suits could be good tech to have when you’re surrounded by a lack of anything.
jimmy: No idea. Seems a bit heavy handed for Doom to be involved don’t you think? He seems to be very hands off the domains. They seem like they are beneath him and it’s really only Strange who bothers with them. My bet would be Tony’s dad is responsible.
ryan: Makes sense. Was virus intentional or experiment gone wrong though?
jimmy: Not sure about the virus. My gut tells me it was intentional as a means to driving up the demand for armor. Maybe it got out of control.
ryan: How does the virus not cross into other Battleworld zones.
jimmy: No idea. Tom would say not to think about it. There is a plague in the X-Tinction Agenda domain as well, that no one seems worried about as long as people remained quarantined. Maybe viruses and plagues can’t climb over the walls between domains.
ryan: Is Dr Druid good or bad? He knows a lot about it.
jimmy: Druid has always been a good guy as far as I know. Who’s to say in the Armor Wars domain, but he seems like he is onside with Rhodes.
ryan: Rhodes is a Thor so he gets a pass. Not enough named people as suspects for Druid to get a pass.
jimmy: Fair enough.
Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars #2
The first issue of this series was disappointing, and hopefully not the new continuity going forward for the original Secret Wars. Unlike Ryan who gave up on it, it is my sworn duty to read all these books, so I’m back for issue two. I really had to approach it as a What If? story or it may drive me mad.
This issue starts with a recreation of a scene from issue three of the original Secret Wars as Spider-Man eavesdrops on the X-Men making plans to leave the heroes and join Magneto. However this time when Spider-Man is discovered by Professor X, he is chased down by Deadpool. A fight that ends in a room filled with…those little red lenticular shields that all the Secret Wars figures came with for some reason even though only Cap had a shield. And since I’m reading this as a What If? I’ll put this down as hilarious as opposed to maddening.
After a short battle with Deadpool, Spider-Man escapes, but like the original series, Professor X has already wiped his mind of the encounter and he can’t remember what he was running to Reed Richards to play tattle tale about. In the meantime, Deadpool has taken one of those shields to use as his own. And like popping those little picture discs in and out with the old toys, the image on his shield is always changing to reflect what Deadpool is seeing or thinking.
Following that we jump to the iconic scene from Secret Wars #4 where the Hulk holds up a mountain to keep the other heroes from being crushed. The other heroes work frantically to come up with a means to escape. In a nice touch, Deadpool’s shield displays the Molecule Man (Ryan, do you know who he is yet?), who was responsible for dropping the mountain on them in the first place.
In the original book, Reed Richards uses Iron Man’s armor, Spidey’s web shooters, a stick of gum and a toothpick to create a repulsion ray powerful enough to blow the side out of the mountain and free them. In this book, Reed tries to use Deadpools shield as spare parts, effectively destroying it. And it’s all for naught as they escape when Deadpool continuously irritates the Hulk until he gets mad enough to punch out the side of the mountain.
When the team makes camp at a local village, Deadpool is helped by a healer named Zsaji. When she completely cures him of his scarring and returns his looks, Wade Wilson is in love and sweeps her of her feet (literally), much to the chagrin of the onlooking Human Torch whom she falls for in the original series. (For about 10 minutes before she dumps him for Colossus. But who can blame her, one guy can turn himself into living flame while the other can make any part of his body pure steel…)
Squadron Sinister #1
An all powerful meta human. An Amazonian. A wielder of a powerful cosmic colored gem. A Dark Knight. And the fastest man alive. No, you haven’t stumbled into the long lost last Convergence post, as that does not describe the Justice League, but the Squadron Sinister. It also describes their counterparts the Squadron Supreme, who surprisingly last all of 3 pages even though they share the cover.
Long story short, the Squadron Sinister are a bunch of jerks based in Utopolis, that are going around annexing other territories of Battleworld to spread their rule. Next on their list is the Shadow Province where a rumored weapon that can harm the mighty Hyperion is said to exist.
Before they can leave for their next conquest, they are visited by Iron Thor, who as you can guess is an Iron Man version of Thor. He informs Hyperion that Doom has sent him to look around since the Squadron’s “activities” have grown of late. He takes their leave since he can show himself around. Two pages later he is deader than fried chicken and dumped in the main boardroom of the Squadron with a giant hole in his chest. (Which if you are reading the Iron Man related title Armor Wars seems awfully familiar. Too much so to be coincidence, but time will tell.) Hyperion directs Nighthawk to find out who did it and to make the body disappear. The last thing they need is Doom himself coming to investigate.
After the successful annexing of Shadow Province we learn that all might not be happy happy fun land in the Squadron. Nighthawk has been gathering materials from each of their conquests to create the ultimate weapon to kill their leader Hyperion. And Warrior Woman is actually an infiltrator for the New Utopians, which we learn when Mark Hazzard drops in to check on her status.