Monday, August 26, 2013
While I don't think there's anything there in the title to clue you in on it, the purpose of the 2 issue X-Universe series was to answer the question of what all of Marvel's other heroes were doing in the Age of Apocalypse. When I first read this I knew very little of the other heroes beyond their origins, and I don't think this interested me very much, enough that I didn't bother purchasing the second issue at the time. Now with all the Marvel movies teaching me a lot more about at least some of these heroes, I'm curious to see if it will have a greater impression on me.
Gwen Stacy is an agent for the Human High Council, currently serving in Wakanda with Dr. Donald Blake attempting to take care of the poor and sick who live there. They depend desperately on the supplies that the Human High Council flies in to them, supplies that the Marauders are here to steal. In this reality, the Marauders are not mutants but humans, specifically Norman Osbourne, Wilson Fisk, Arcade, and the Owl. Gwen Stacy holds her ground against them, but her weapon isn't strong enough to take them all down. Fortunately, a huge spider-shaped ship is coming, piloted by Hawkeye and carrying Anthony Stark along with him. They take out the Marauders and then land, providing the needed supplies to Wakanda and telling Blake (who walks with a cane) that he needs to come with them.
They are heading back to London, where Mikhail has brought an armada of ships with him to negotiate peace on behalf of Apocalypse. Sue Storm and Ben Grimm don't trust him one bit, and they shouldn't because someone just blew up the base where they were about to land. They survive the attack and search through the rubble to find a grey Hulk. Sue (who is a normal human, as is Ben) chops off the Hulk's ear and he transforms back into Bruce Banner, who they were originally coming here to meet. They realize he doesn't realize what the monster inside him just did, so they take him along with them to meet up with Mikhail along with the other heroes we've seen previously.
We get a glimpse onto Mikhail's ship first, where we get a confirmation that Apocalypse has no intention of making peace. We also see that he's been modifying humans with enhancements in exchange for them working for him, and among them is Matt Murdock.
Mikhail descends out of his ship and meets up with the human representative Victor Von Doom, who is scarred on one cheek but not wearing an iron mask, and Mikhail gives a rousing speech meant to inspire hope in the humans, and it works as they begin to chant his name. Our collection of heroes is escorted onto Mikhail's ship, where they find out that the people are so willing to believe him because he's hooked up the mutant Empath to a machine and is manipulating their emotions with him.
On the following page we get a look at the Human High Council files, a quick way to tell us the status of some other Marvel heroes:
T'Challa - killed when Apocalypse showed up in Wakanda to take the vibranium
Frank Castle - Went to a monastery after his wife and children were killed by Apocalypse, but died there with the monks.
Peter Parker - Was supposed to be a contact for Gwen Stacy to meet up with, but was killed before that could happen.
Reed Richards & Johnny Storm - Died during an attempt to help some human refugees escape America.
Namor - Apocalypse also destroyed Atlantis and he died in that attack.
I think I understand why I didn't originally continue with this series. Their efforts to shove as many characters as possible into this one very brief series leave it cluttered and confusing. With the exception of Gwen, Sue, and Ben, most of them have so brief a role that they don't really contribute all that much. Yes, it's neat to see Dr. Doom on the side of good here, but that's not really enough to make it interesting. I have since purchased the second issue though, so we'll see how they wrap this one up and if it gets any better.