Life is funny sometimes. When I wrote my walk through of Secret Wars #9 I mentioned that I had read all the events books except for Armor Wars #½. Since it was a limited giveaway at Toys R’ Us (a store I don’t frequent) I had a hard time getting my hands it. Strangely enough, it was literally half an hour after that review posted to the website, I happened upon a copy.
After the break I will inch closer to completing this odyssey with the aforementioned Armor Wars #½, as well as finish off Weirdworld (#3-5) and X-Men ’92 (Infinite) (#7-8). As usual, this way be spoilers.
Armor Wars #½
For a book that was a 12 page giveaway at a toy store, I wasn’t expecting much here. But it actually turned out to be quite good. It does a great job of laying the foundation for the plot of the series and giving some additional background and perspective on its main characters.
A lot of times these giveaways feature throwaway talent or newcomers just getting their foot in the door and are often very disconnected from the series that would follow. But this featured a veteran writer/artist team of James Robinson and Mark Bagley. Robinson also pens the main series, so it is not a surprise at how seemlessly this issue slots itself in just before the events in Armor Wars #1.
As for the plot of this issue, pages one to five introduce us to Thor James Rhodes as he lays a beat down on the Titanium Man. Rhodey also plays narrator and gives us a nice history of Technopolis, something that was a little confusing in the first issue of the book.
The next three pages are a conversation between Rhodes and Baron Tony Stark. Rhodes shares with Tony that he has no proof, but he has a hunch that something is going down in Technopolis and he feels that the Kingpin is getting ready to make a power move of some kind. (Which of course he is as we see in a cut scene between Wilson Fisk and Tony’s brother Arno.) Rhodes also tells Tony that Spyder-Man has sent word that he wants to meet to discuss something about the history of Technopolis that he has discovered. A discovery that will get him killed very soon and very early into the first issue of Armor Wars.
The book concludes with a couple of pages of Spyder-Man swinging around on his way to meet Rhodes, until he is attacked by a group of armored thugs. To be continued…
Arkon and Warbow the Crystal Warrior must fight their way out of the trophy room of Morgan Le Fey after they are ambushed by her Magma Men. The pair manage to escape, mostly accidentally, as they all into a boat that allows them to cross the river of lava.
Once across, Warbow makes good on his promise from last issue and gives Arkon a map of Weirdworld that he had made. But all Arkon sees is madness. The map looks nothing like the map Arkon himself had created and lost in Apelantis. Warbow says, “It is called Weirdworld for a reason. The land is always changing.”
Arkon is discouraged but takes Warbow’s map and heads off alone to once again seek his home of Polemachus. Having stopped for an ale at a saloon high up in the trees, a stranger makes conversation with Arkon. The two share stories and ale until the stranger reveals his true purpose. He has been hired to kill Arkon. The two warriors battle until Arkon destroys the rope bridge they are both standing on and the pair appear to fall to their deaths.
But it is not a good day to die and Arkon awakens strung upside down in a place he recognizes from Warbows map: The Forest of the Man-Things.
Arkon is not the only one to survive the fall at the end of last issue. His assassin Jim Scully aka Skull the Slayer has as well, and violently awakes Arkon from his dreams of an upside down Polemachus. Their battle continues until the two are knocked unconscious by the creatures that give the forest it’s name: the Man-Things.
A short time later the two warriors are brought before the Swamp Queen. Scully describes her as a rebel of sorts, looking to use her Man-Things to overthrow the Baron of Weirdworld, Morgan Le Fey. The Swamp Queen has no desire to kill them, but to recruit them to her cause. She sends Arkon and Scully on a vision quest in hopes that they face their fears and return dedicated to her.
Scully embraces his fears and is reborn as Skull the Redeemer. Arkon, well, not so much. He runs and the Swamp Queen says to let him go. He has to find his own path. A path that leads him to the edge of the floating domain where he decides he can take no more and prepares to end his own life.
It’s Harakiri time for Arkon, but before his lightening bolt blade can even pierce his organs he withdraws it from his abdomen and decides that it is not time to die, but to fight. Which is good timing as Morgan Le Fey appears before him on her dragon. She is not alone as her army it attacking and Arkon is pushed over the edge of Weirdworld. He uses the lightening bolt that moments before he was using to end his life, to save himself, digging it deep into the side of the floating island.
To his shock, as he hangs on for his life, Arkon discovers another secret of Weirdworld. It’s underside it populated by another city. And upside down city that Arkon is all too familiar with. Polemachus.
At long last Arkon has found his home, only to see it become a battleground. Morgan Le Fay and her army have come to destroy it. Arkon’s side is joined by the Swamp Queen and her Man-Things and Jim Scully. As well as various other beasts from across Weirdworld who have come to stop Le Fay. Including a reconstituted Crystar, Lord of Crystallium, whose remains Arkon and Warbow had rescued from the trophy room of Le Fay.
And then, in one of the few disappointing twists in this excellent series, with Arkon about to finally reach home…Battleworld blows up, fade to white, here’s a teaser from Weirdworld now being part of the new Marvel Universe.
X-Men ’92 (Infinite) #7
The Ten-Sentinel is attacking and attempting to kill Baron Kelly. Cassandara Nova is the mastermind behind sending the Sentinel to kill Kelly, but she also has brought a brainwashed Rouge, Gambit and Wolverine with her…who are attempting to save Kelly. I’m not sure she has thought this plan through. X-Force, the X-Men and every other mutant around also show up to defeat the Sentinel, save Kelly and stop Nova.
Wolverine manages to break free of his brainwashing in the most Wolverine way possible. By having a bystander tell him that if he can’t save her to call for Cyclops. Cue berserker rage. Rouge and Gambit are not so lucky as they are blasted by the Ten-Sentinel. Gambit is gravely injured and Rouge can’t touch him to help him.
Meanwhile, Nova has stolen Baron Kelly’s cloak..which I guess holds all his “Baron powers” and she prepares to take over the domain. Jean Grey valiantly attacks her, but in the end is defeated. So it is Professor X’s turn to step up. And the battle begins on the astral plane between Onslaught and the Shadow King, now separated from Nova.
X-Men ’92 (Infinite) #8
The shock of Gambit’s near death experience and having to be saved by Caliban since Rogue couldn’t touch him, has freed the X-Men from their brainwashing. They rejoin the X-Men in the battle against the Ten-Sentinel.
On the astral plane, Professor X is not faring well against the Shadow King. That is until Jean Grey, Psylocke and Cable lend their psychic energy to Xavier to help in his fight. With their combined might, Xavier defeats the Shadow King by, um, shooting him out of the astral plane with a manifestation of Cable’s gun. Or something.
As for the Ten-Sentinel, it is defeated eventually by, oh, let’s say…Moe. Ok, ok, let’s say Jubilee, who with the help of Gambit somehow uses Cable’s gun (man, that thing gets around) to shoot some kind of override code into the Sentinel and shut it down. Or something.
Good to his word from issue one, with this adventure over, Cyclops leaves Xavier’s school in Storm’s hands.
We are then teased with two epilogues and a promise that X-Men ’92 will be back. In epilogue one, the escaped Casandra Nova has tracked down Joseph, a clone of Magneto. And in the second, Baron Kelly has a meeting with a returned Apocalypse who is planning to do Apocalypse things.