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It's that time again! It's time to return to the wild world of Earth-712, home of the Earth's Greatest Heroes, the Squadron Supreme! Last month, I reviewed the first issue of their twelve-issue maxi-series, and I thought it'd be fun to try taking a look at one issue every month. As such, here's #2 for you!

Previously on Squadron Supreme: Thanks to a pair of powerful villains, Earth-712 was left in ruins, despite the efforts of the Squadron Supreme and the Defenders. After the crisis, the Squadron come to the conclusion that the only way to solve this Earth's problems is to essentially take charge of the world. If they don't fix everything in one year, then they shall return power to the world's governments. Nighthawk quits the Squadron due to his reservations about the plan, and vows to find another way to save the world and stop the Squadron...

The cover depicts Hyperion facing off against the Scarlet Centurion, threatening to kill him, and the Squadron Supreme watching around a table in shock. Hyperion's pose makes me shake my head, though. Why is he kneeling in the air? Is he on an invisible floating platform? Oh, I know what's going on here! Scarlet Centurion threw his back out again, and Hyperion is accommodating him until he can get to his chiropractor, and the Squadron Supreme is just shocked about the whole thing.

"A Small Sacrifice"

Writer: Mark Gruenwald

Penciler: Bob Hall

Inker: John Beatty

Letterer: Janice Chiang

Colorist: Christie Scheele

Editor: Ralph Macchio

Editor-In-Chief: Jim Shooter

The issue begins with Doctor Spectrum, Golden Archer, and Tom Thumb carrying loads of boxes towards a crowd in a city thanks to Spectrum's GL-esque abilities.

The boxes are filled with food, and the people of this city are all too happy to finally get a decent meal after a while. However, poor Tom Thumb gets teased a bit.

The mayor expresses his gratitude towards the heroes, an let's them address the crowd. Doctor Spectrum and Golden Archer reassure everyone that the roads have been cleared up and the food industry is working to feed the country again. However, poor Tom Thumb gets passed over when it comes to speaking to the crowd.

Yeah, this was something that was minorly touched on in the last issue with Thumb's interactions with the computer, Aida. It gives the impression that Tom has been struggling with feeling lonely and well, small for the long time. It also gives the impression that the other members of the Squadron don't directly ignore or disrespect Tom, it's something they don't realize they do.

A group of men claiming to be city councilmen get up on the improvised stage and take the mayor hostage.

The men demand that Archer and Spectrum drop their weapons. Considering the risk to the mayor, Archer and Spectrum do so. The men call themselves Freedom Force, and state they find the Squadron guilty of their actions under the control of Over-Mind. One of the men reveals his brother died during that time. As such, they sentence the Squadron to death by execution.

More men appear, surrounding the Squadron members. Archer thinks that they'll never be able to convince them that the Squadron were under mind control. You know, Archer, it wouldn't hurt to at least try. You might be able to convince someone. After all, even in a world like this, with superheroes and magic, being controlled by an alien can't be that inconceivable to people.

The men march the three Squadron members to the big pile of crates, and improvise a firing squad. The leader obtains Doctor Spectrum's Power Prism and announces his intent to use it to make the Squadron pay for their crimes, but the thing is...Doctor Spectrum doesn't need to actually hold his Power Prism to command it. He can do it by remote.

Spectrum is able to disarm the holder of his Prism, and he and Archer make short work of the wannabe firing squad. And Tom Thumb is left sulking, thinking that no one treated him like he was even there.

Meanwhile, Whizzer and Nuke are racing across a bridge. Nuke tells Whizzer he has some business up north, and flies off. Whizzer thinks that he knows Nuke was really bothered by something, but won't tell him anything. Nuke changes to civvies, and visits his sick parents. Since they don't have much longer, they admit to him that they know what is killing them: They're suffering from radiation poisoning.

They have cancer caused by radiation poisoning. Nuke has powers based around radiation. Put two and two together. Later, the Squadron hold a meeting to discuss their progress in repairing America. Hyperion reports that the U.S. Mint is operating again, and the banks will reopen Wednesday. Power Princess reports that 75% of the food processing plants on the East Coast are back in business, and she and Arcanna will start on the West Coast tomorrow. Whizzer and Nuke managed to evacuate all the internment camps and get food to all the prisons. Tom Thumb reports that 95% of all the power an natural gas likes have been restored. A lot has been done in only one month.

Doc Spectrum tells Hyperion about the incident with the wannabe firing squad, and Hyperion remarks that after the food crisis is over, they've got to work on the disarmament program. Oh yeah, the gun-worshipping rednecks will love that one, Hype.

Lady Lark remarks that the Squadron should look into expanding their membership, as there's still a lot to do, and only 12 Squadron members. However, they get interrupted by a surprise guest.

It's the Scarlet Centurion! Well, a hologram of him at the very least. He does the typical supervillain thing, announcing that he has a legion of ten thousand temporal warriors who shall invade the Earth. Hyperion...warns him that's not a good idea right now, considering the Earth is still not in the best of shape.

Surprisingly, the Centurion agrees, stating that it's no fun conquering a world that is a ruin. He then says the Squadron haven't seen the last of him, that old cliché. The hologram vanishes, and the Squadron cheer Hyperion's scaring him off. With that out of the way, he and Power Princess announce that they will meet with the new President tomorrow...which reminds them of Nighthawk, which leads them to wonder where he went off to. Hyperion states that he went by his home, but he wasn't there. You think the Squadron would be looking for the guy, at the very least to see if he's alright. Although they probably were very busy fixing the world.

In a mirthful moment, Doc Spectrum reminds everyone that it's poker night, and the Squadron, sans Hyperion and Power Princess, play some cards, except for one.

I love the layout of these panels. We see Tom Thumb quietly leaving the table and going off. And we get some dialogue from Amphibian. Poor Amphibian never really got any spotlight in this issue so far. I get the feeling Mark wasn't quite sure what to do with him.

Anyway, Tom Thumb mentally grumbles about feeling left out again...which does make me scratch my head. In this case, I didn't see then outright letting Tom out, even unintentionally. Maybe that's just me. Anyway, Tom does have a friend: Aida. They talk for a bit, and then Nuke appears, wanting to ask Tom a favor. Nuke fears his energy powers are increasing in strength.

He fires a blast at an energy analyzer, and Nuke's fears are confirmed. His energy powers have increased 52% in strength. He then realizes that his general radioactivity has increased as well, which means it's getting dangerous to be around him for long periods of time.

Nuke explains that his parents have cancer from radiation poisoning, and he thinks it's because of him. He's the youngest of the Squadron, and he still lives with them. They also have no idea he is Nuke...this makes me scratch my head. Nuke was with the rest of the Squadron when they unmasked in the last issue. Didn't his parents see that on TV? And if they did, wouldn't they have also figured out that being around him is why they're ill?

He doesn't have much besides them, as he doesn't really have any friends, and he's occupied with his Squadron duties. Much like Tom himself. Nuke is desperate to save his parents, and makes a very big request of Tom...

Tom admits in his mind it's a tall order. After, how many scientists over how many decades have puzzled over this problem? Tom, however, fears that if he doesn't do it, Nuke will hate him. He then agrees to try. Nuke is overjoyed, and leaves to go see his parents. Tom realizes that he messed up. He then becomes determined to do what some say may be impossible.

The next day, Hyperion finds Tom asleep at Aida's keyboard. He wakes him up and Tom requests to be taken off field duty for a while as he's got some projects going. Hyperion agrees, as Tom is the smartest guy in the Squadron, and he can decide where his brain is needed most. Tom then tells Aida to not let him sleep again. Yeah, that's not smart, Tom. Even you need sleep. Your body and mind will be hurting if you don't get sleep.

Later that morning, Blue Eagle, Lady Lark, and Nuke are flying over what I think is the GW Bridge connecting New York and New Jersey. The comic calls it the George Orwell Bridge, which connects New Wesley and New Troy. Yeah, Earth-712 has many of the same places that "our" world does, but given new names. For example, Washington, DC is known as Capitol City, Magelland. It's a neat way of paying homage to DC using fictional cities for their characters, but it can be confusing as I have a tough time sometimes figuring out what each place is supposed to be the counterpart of at times. There's also another nod with the bridge's name: George Orwell wrote 1984.

They got word of mobs blocking the trucks bringing food to Cosmopolis, aka Earth-712's New York City. Lady Lark inquires about Blue Eagle's new name and suit, and he explains it was a gift from his father, who recently passed on.

Nuke signals them, indicating he found the mobs. They're storming the trucks, demanding food. Lady Lark uses her powerful voice to try and calm people down, but the mobs are angry, they're hungry, and they are fed up with waiting. Nuke decides to take action himself, and...

His fireworks display causes a panic, and Lark and Eagle chastise him for it with help from her voice. Nuke asks them not to report this to Hyperion. That evening, the Squadron have a meeting, and Nuke realizes he's off the hook. Tom tells Nuke he has something for him.

It's a brand-new radiation suit. Much to Nuke's chagrin, he's going to have to wear it around people because of his increasing radioactivity, and considering he's around people almost all the time...yeah. A downcast Nuke decides not to join the other Squadron for a poker game, and with the problem of Nuke's increasing radioactivity supposedly solved, Tom can concentrate on finding a cure for cancer. Eight days pass, and no luck on that front for Tom. Nuke tells him his parents are getting worse, and he's really scared. He's begging Tom to hurry on that cure. Tom gets frustrated about the lack of time he has, but is hit with a bolt of inspiration.

Tom grabs an object from a crate. Basically, it's a backpack and helmet that would allow him to travel through time. Tom uses it to visit the 40th Century home of the Scarlet Centurion. And Tom wants to make a bargain with the future-born warlord.

The Scarlet Centurion has a little something called a Panacea Potion. The potion supposedly does right what the name says: It can cure any disease, heal any wound, even reverse aging. But there's a price. The Centurion will give him the potion, if Tom uses an argonite capsule to poison Hyperion. With Hyperion weakened, the Scarlet Centurion will be able to defeat the Squadron and conquer the world.

Tom ultimately decides that the price is not worth the potion. He can't betray his only friends, the Squadron Supreme. He goes back home and the Scarlet Centurion laughs. A heartbroken Tom cries himself to sleep. Nuke finds him the next day, and Tom tells him the truth: He couldn't do it. He couldn't find a cure for his parents' cancer. Nuke is totally understanding about it. After all, Tom did try his best, and many before Tom have tried to tackle that problem...

See? Nuke is totally understanding! Yeah, I like to think that Nuke's increasing powers are also affecting his mind on top of his own fears and desperation to not lose his family. Tom apologizes to Nuke, saying heroes shouldn't betray each other for any reason. This is a theme that was seen often in Gruenwald's work, from this to Captain America and even his work on the New Universe title DP7: The idea that one should always stick to their principles. It may be the harder thing to do, but ultimately, it's the right thing to do. The Captain America No More storyline he wrote is a great example of this theme being prominent in his work.

Anyway, Tom quietly reveals that Nuke's parents won't be alone in meeting the Grim Reaper soon.

Tom has cancer, too. And his prognosis is not good. I think we can safely assume he got sick from hanging around Nuke all the time.

Squadron Supreme #2 is really good. Again, Mark Gruenwald shows his skills at balancing a large cast (Well, except for Amphibian, guy never really does anything), and he manages to keep the story packed in a good way. Bob Hall's art is serviceable, but it still has the same flaws that I pointed out in my look at the last issue: His close-ups are fantastic, but his art does seem to suffer when it comes to drawing characters at a distance. Although I'm thinking it may be more of the inking rather than the penciler's fault.

If you find this issue in the back issue bins, get it. Heck, get the whole mini! After looking at this heavy issue, I feel the need to look at something more light-hearted and fun. Ah, I know! Next time, we'll look at a Back to the Future comic!

The Netherrealm Studios-made game Injustice Among Us has a sequel! Yup, the DC Comics fighting game has a trailer...and I am RIDICULOUSLY late when it comes to giving my thoughts on it. First of all, I never played the first Injustice game. I had heard a lot of good things about it, but I just never bothered to grab it. I don't know why, it looked pretty neat.

So with that out of the way, here's the trailer!

 

 

 

The trailer begins with that looks like Superman brawling with the Flash, and basically thrashing him. He is Superman, after all. A voice starts talking about how battle can change a man. While this is happening, what looks like pieces of armor start unfolding and covering Flash's body. It reminds me of Flash's New 52 look.

That armor must give Flash some kind of boost, as the Scarlet Speedster easily ducks Superman's punch by pretending it's a limbo pole (How low can you gooooooo?), and just royally wrecks The Man of Steel.

Flash thinks he's won...whatever is going on here, when Batman shows up. Batman beats down Flash, typical DC, always making Batman overpowered. The Dark Knight attaches a bomb to Flash's chest, and then it explodes. Bats then gets a golden projectile to the gut. He'll survive this, because he's overpowered. And DC loves making him overpowered.

The golden projectile is revealed to be a trident, wielded by the King of the Seas himself, Aquaman. Batman fights back with a Batarang, and then lifts him up, armor pieces forming over him. I have to admit that the armor-forming is pretty cool. Bats's armor also has green TRON lines on it. I think we can safely assume Bruce Wayne is a TRON fan. He gets tackled by Superman.

Supes is about to introduce him to his heat vision when HE gets blasted, and Bats's savior is...Supergirl, who has some armor pieces of her own. Aquaman retrieves his trident, with some armor pieces forming over him, too.

Armor pieces form over Superman (What does HE need armor for?), and Batman's armor finishes forming, and it makes him look like Batman Beyond a bit. Nice nod. The heroes then all charge at each other, ready to get into an all-out brawl.

The teaser also reveals that pre-orders come with Darkseid. Hope he's DLC for this game, too.

I have to admit, the teaser is pretty neat. It really gives the characters a sense of power, and It's really cool seeing them armor up. Maybe I should get the first Injustice game...

Hey there, everyone! I just have one thing to say!

That's right, it's Valentine's Day! Originating as a feast day celebrating various saints named Valentinus, it would evolve into a holiday celebrating romantic love in the 14th century thanks to Geoffrey Chauser and his circle of friends. By the 18th century in England, it would evolve further into essentially the Valentine's Day we know today, with the offering of chocolates, flowers, and cards to loved ones that we know today. You can read here for more info on this day and its history. 

Anyway, I hope you enjoy yourselves on this day! Spend some time with someone you love, where it'd be family, a significant other, friends, or even a pet or two! Have a great day!

Hey, everyone! It's February, which means it's Black History Month. As such, I think it would be appropriate to look at a comic that focused on a black superhero. And since this guy is particularly hot at the moment, I thought it would be neat to take a look at a comic starring Luke Cage.

Who is Luke Cage, you ask? Well, the character was inspired by the popularity of Blaxploitation films, first appearing in Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #1 (June 1972). In fact, Cage is a pioneer. He is the first black character in comics to be the protagonist of his own comic book series. Born Carl Lucas from Harlem, NYC, Luke Cage was a gang member framed and imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit. He was sent to Seagate Prison, where he was the favorite target of a racist guard.

One day, a Dr. Noah Burstein recruits Cage for an experiment to create a super-soldier. The racist guard, Albert "Billy Bob" Rackham, sabotaged the experiment in an attempt to kill him. However, it did not go as planned. It ended up giving Luke Cage superhuman strength and steel-hard skin, able to deflect bullets. He escaped, went back to New York, took up the name "Luke Cage" (I believe at some point in the comics, he would legally change his name), and the rest is history.

In the 40+ years since, Cage would be a regular presence in the Marvel Universe over the years. He had encounters with various heroes and join various hero teams, like the Fantastic Four, the Defenders, and a couple incarnations of the Heroes for Hire. The character underwent a resurgence thanks to Brian Michael Bendis, and has become an Avenger, lead an incarnation of the Thunderbolts, and even has become a husband to Jessica Jones, and the father of a little girl named Danielle Cage, who has a future counterpart that has taken up the mantle of Captain America. Cage has really gone up in the world.

He's become so popular that he even got his own Netflix spinoff after appearing in the Jessica Jones series (IT BROKE NETFLIX), is going to be a part of the Defenders Netflix series, and he's also got a new Power Man/Iron Fist series going.

So with all that out of the way, let's take a look at Cage #1, the start of his 1990s series.

The cover is pretty neat. Front and center is Luke Cage with his "new look" for the time, symbolically tearing up the classic yellow shirt and chain belt he wore as his costume. Around him are various people who are part of the cast for the new title, including Dakota North, a private investigator.

Interestingly, the cover of the trade paperback Second Chances, where I got this issue from, uses this cover as its cover, albeit the coloring is altered. The trade cover has a recolored version, puts more color on the supporting cast. It looks pretty, but at the same time, I like the original coloring because it draws the eye to Cage himself and puts him front and center.

"The Drowning Man"

Writer: Marc McLaurin

Penciler: Dwayne Turner

Inker: Christopher Ivy

Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos

Colorist: Mike Thomas

Editor: Kelly Corvese

Editor-In-Chief: Tom DeFalco

The issue begins with a woman recapping Luke Cage's origins and history up to this point, including his empowering, his days as a Hero for Hire alongside Iron Fist to his being framed for Iron Fist's murder (Yeah, he got better from that). The woman is revealed to be Dakota North, who was hired by a newspaper to find Luke Cage.

She talks to three people in the room, and an intercom. The three people are Jeryn Hogarth, who is the paper's lawyer and a friend of Cage's from the Heroes for Hire days, reporter Analisa Medina, and photographer Micky Hamilton, who covered wars. It's presumed he may have worked with Frank West at some point.

 

 

You know, in the first close-up of Micky Hamilton, is it just me, or does he look like a young Danny Glover a little bit? Anyway, the head of the paper is one Mr. Drewston. Much like Charlie, he talks to them through an intercom. Drewston thinks covering Cage's adventures could help sell papers, much like the Bugle's coverage of Spider-Man. Hamilton reveals that his sources have told him that Cage has started a new "Heroes for Hire" right in Chicago. All they have to do is find some trouble, and he'll be there.

Hamilton's prediction is right on the money, as Cage has gotten himself into a...bit of a scuffle in the form of a good ol' fashioned barfight.

 

 

Someone tries to shoot him, but bullets tend not to agree with steel-hard skin. However, someone has brought a new weapon to the fight, an electrified chain.

 

 

A van crashes into the bar, and Cage ends up preoccupied with protecting the bystanders, and the narration goes into how Cage always used to have someone's back in these situations, usually Iron Fist. One could protect bystanders, while the other could concentrate on the villain. Cage bursts in after it, and gets into a brawl with the men inside. The driver is a flamboyant man called Hardcore.

 

 

I have to admit, I kind of like Hardcore. He's flamboyant, has a cool weapon, and is fond of quoting people. He's also from the Caribbean, particularly St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. Anyway, Hardcore lets another man take the wheel, and attacks cage with his chain weapon, which he explains is a modified manriki.

Despite Cage's super strength and toughness, Hardcore is able to thrash him, while quoting Tao in the process. Yeah, as I said, Hardcore has a fondness for quoting people, and based on who he quotes, he has a fondness for poetry. I think it's a neat quirk. I also like that he tells people who he's quoting. I think it's a nice bit of character, showing that he's well-read and a bit of a cocky snob about it.

 

 

Some of the men try to get away, but Cage stops them with the help of a manhole cover. He finds him swarmed by reporters, but he just wants to get his paycheck. Jeryn Hogarth pushes his way through the crowd, and tells Cage he now represents the Chicago Spectator, and the paper wants to make a deal with him. Back at the Spectator offices on Tuesday afternoon, Analisa expresses her reluctance with the paper's associating with Cage as she feels he's a loose cannon. Micky is more optimistic, feeling that Cage will bring some great attention. Analisa hopes no one gets killed as a result of this.

In Oakdale, Hardcore has a bazooka. He uses it to blow up the estate of a man named Angelopoulos, who insists on being called Angel. He quotes the Greek playwright Euripides during the action. It's part of a plan for Angel to fake his death.

Back at the paper, Hogarth, Micky, Analisa, and Dakota North brief Cage on Elio Angelopoulos III. A former strike-breaker, he eventually became head of the arms company Angelco Enterprises, one of the biggest companies in America. He's also a gun collector who is tied to the Maggia, the Marvel Universe's version of the Mafia.

 

 

 

Angel did arms deals with some very bad dudes. However, karma can be a vicious lady. He lost a ton of money in Vegas, which got him under the control of the Maggia. His company has gone downhill as a result of this, leading up to deaths and a strike. The paper staff believe that it'll only be a matter of time before the cops tie Angel to the insanity, and he'll try and take any many people as he can with him before the cops get him.

Micky rushes in, saying that Angel is trying to flee to the airstrip. He's got a helicopter ready to go, but they have to move fast. Luke wants to know why the paper wants to hire him to catch the guy. Analisa admits that they want the exclusive on the story of Angel's capture. Their covering his fight earlier caused them to sell out their morning edition, and they figured that covering him more an only help keep sales up. Cage is rather...impressed with Analisa's honesty, and takes the job.

 

 

Uh, Luke, you're being awfully creepy in that panel, man. You...may want to step back a bit. In the helicopter, Luke and Micky talk. Micky revealed he was a correspondent in Vietnam, and that he knew Luke's parents. Luke takes that revelation rather well.

 

 

Luke angrily reminds Micky that he may have known Luke's parents, but he does NOT know him. Yeesh, what was his problem? I think Micky knowing Luke's parents would've made for some interesting character moments, and allow the reader to learn a little more about Cage's past and family. I don't think that was ever explored in the series. A real shame. They arrive at the airstrip, and Hardcore greets them with a manriki to the rotors.

 

 

Is...is Hardcore wearing lipstick in that panel? It's probably a coloring goof, but if not...to each their own, I guess. Although I personally imagined him to be more of the black lipstick type. The manriki somehow makes the helicopter blow up, but Micky and Cage managed to get out of the helicopter just in time. They made a mighty leap, and the ground broke their fall.

Micky realizes that Hardcore was the one who caused the copter's destruction (how did he know that?), Micky tries to convince Cage to back off, saying the paper will still have its story, and they will still pay him. Cage presses on, saying he was paid to do a job, and he's going to get it done.

Something happens to Angel and Hardcore's jeep, the art doesn't really explain. They realize it's Cage. Hardcore tries to run him down, quoting Longfellow. Cage slams into the jeep, causing it to crash, luckily not detonating the explosives in the back. Hardcore is not out of the fight, though. He attacks, trying to choke out Cage with his manriki. He then explains that he has a gift from the Japanese...

 

 

Yeah, Hardcore is definitely wearing lipstick. That can't be a coloring error. We saw that in a previous panel.

Anyway, he explains that the nails on one of his hands are diamond-tipped, allowing his nails to cut steel...or steel-hard skin. Can diamond actually cut steel? I did a Google search, and it turns out that synthetic diamonds can cut steel. Kudos to this comic, then. The panel shows he only did this stuff with one hand. I wonder why? Anyway, Hardcore shows that he can hurt Cage with his fancy fingernails. I'm betting Hardcore doesn't have a nail-biting habit because in his case, I bet it's expensive.

Hardcore taunts Cage by calling him Power Man, which he dislikes, and Cage feeds him a fist in response. He then spots Angel trying to flee. However, Micky leaps into the jeep, much to Cage's chagrin. He then gets attacked by Hardcore, who explains he was able to take Cage's blow thanks to his "kinetic Kevlar" vest. He then twirls his explosive manriki, giving Cage a choice: Keep fighting him, or save his friends. It's not much of a choice. No matter what Cage does, Hardcore still can pitch his manriki.

Cage decides to take a third option. He rips some asphalt out of the ground, and Hardcore pitches the manriki. Cage tosses his boulder and intercepts it, causing an explosion.

 

 

Meanwhile, Micky punches out Angel, who causes the jeep to accelerate as he falls out of it, and Micky bails out. Cage tried to go after the fleeing Hardcore, but the man throws some capsules at Cage's wounds, quoting Dobson.

Cage grabs a bazooka, and uses it to shoot down Hardcore's plane. The fight continues, and Cage realizes that Hardcore tends to avoid close quarters combat, preferring to use his long-rage weaponry like his various projectiles and manriki.

 

 

The explosive-laden jeep barrels towards them, and makes some planes explode, which somehow causes the explosion of Angel's airfield.

Later, Cage is checked out, and he's alright, his jacket helped deflect the worst of Hardcore's abuse. One tough jacket. And he did not get his bulletproof one yet. Analisa is unhappy with how things turned out, saying that Cage's dense-headedness caused things to go to this point. Micky stands up for him, saying he did some good, and Angel was stopped.

Micky then makes a deal with Cage: The Chicago Spectator will advertise and promote his business, and he gives them exclusive coverage of his cases. Cage agrees to the deal.

 

 

The next day, in St.Croix, Virgin Islands, A figure grabs a skull a la Hamlet with Yorick's skull, and tells Hardcore that he failed in his mission to take out Angel and get his money. Hardcore argues he hasn't, and gets smacked by a mook, only to somehow get slashed in the back. Hardcore says he'll deal with Angel later, and makes a remark about the "Cage objective", which was not the man's target. He said that that plan required Cage to be broken, but thanks to the Angel incident, Cage is able to get a foothold on things.

Hardcore argues that the bonds he builds can be cut, while casually killing the mook.

Cage #1 is...well, it's alright, but it's not one of Cage's best adventures. What the Chicago Spectator is doing here could be rather unethical for a newspaper. Hardcore is a pretty neat villain, though. It does have a lot of action, and it does set up Cage's new status quo for the time, so it does do its job as a first issue. The art's storytelling is a bit confusing to follow at times. I found myself scratching my head a couple of times, trying to figure out what I was looking at. The comic is good in that "mindless action film" kind of way, but that's about it, really. I would only get this if you find it dirt cheap in the back issue bins, and/or you want to complete your collection of the character's appearances. Or if you're in the mood to read a comic with some action.

Next time, we return to Earth-712, and watch the Squadron Supreme try to fix their world...

A new trailer for the Iron Fist Netflix series is here! This was quite a surprise to me, so I thought I'd give it a looksee!

 

 

The trailer begins with Danny Rand in the big ol' City that Never Sleeps. It's been about 15 years since the magical martial arts land of K'un-Lun took him in and raised him into the living weapon he now is. The Immortal Iron Fist has come home at last.

It's pretty funny how this trailer starts. Poor Danny introduces himself to the secretary of his family's company, only for a couple of guards to try and throw him out. They try, anyway. Speaking of Rand Enterprises, what is it exactly that they do? What do they specialize in? Pharmaceuticals? Aerospace? Manufacturing shuriken?

Anyway, the guards try to throw him out, but they get their butts handed to them. Rand is next seen in an elevator. Yeah, Danny, way to not look like a desperate crazy man.

We next get glimpses of his origin, and his return to civilization. It's very remisicient of Tony Stark in the first Iron Man movie blended with a bit of Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins. We also see him interact a bit with Jessica Henwick's Colleen Wing. I'm hoping she meets Simone Messick's Misty Knight and they get a detective agency spin-off together. Daughters of the Dragon, the next Netflix/Marvel smash hit right there!

We also see Danny kick butt. I expect lots of butt-kicking in this series.

There's some brief flashes of Danny's training in K'un-Lun. Clever nod here, we do briefly see his gi is yellow-and-green. Nice.

David Wenham then appears as Robert Meachum, who was a partner of Danny's parents. Yeah, he caused their deaths in the comics, so it's safe to assume that he's a bad guy here. There's a woman in shadow telling him there's no place for Danny Rand. I think it's possible that here, Meachum is a flunky for a Bigger Bad. Some bigger is going down.

Hey, it's Rosario Dawson's Claire Temple! She's the Netflix Nick Fury, bringing the future Defenders together. Heck, her speech here is in the vein of Nick Fury's speech as to why he brought the Avengers together.

What are those songs in the trailer? They're great.

Was that Madame Gao from Daredevil at 1:27? If that is, I wonder what role she has here. Hmm, it's all connected indeed. She's probably thinking, "First that Devil in Hell's Kitchen, now this guy. For Pete's sake..."

Lots of fighting footage, which is good. And the Iron Fist itself is awesome, the way it glows. I think we may also get a little romantic tension between Danny and Colleen here. Interesting, but I was kind of hoping that it's be between Danny and Misty Knight, as they were a couple in the comics.

Claire, what does the Iron Fist mean? It means if he punches someone with it, the recipient will be hurting.

This trailer was fun to watch! Loved seeing all the action in it! Can't wait for this series, and the upcoming Defenders! Bring it on!

It's that time again! It's time to return to the wild world of Earth-712, home of the Earth's Greatest Heroes, the Squadron Supreme! Last month, I reviewed the first issue of their twelve-issue maxi-series, and I thought it'd be fun to try taking a look at one issue every month. As such, here's #2 for you!

Previously on Squadron Supreme: Thanks to a pair of powerful villains, Earth-712 was left in ruins, despite the efforts of the Squadron Supreme and the Defenders. After the crisis, the Squadron come to the conclusion that the only way to solve this Earth's problems is to essentially take charge of the world. If they don't fix everything in one year, then they shall return power to the world's governments. Nighthawk quits the Squadron due to his reservations about the plan, and vows to find another way to save the world and stop the Squadron...

The cover depicts Hyperion facing off against the Scarlet Centurion, threatening to kill him, and the Squadron Supreme watching around a table in shock. Hyperion's pose makes me shake my head, though. Why is he kneeling in the air? Is he on an invisible floating platform? Oh, I know what's going on here! Scarlet Centurion threw his back out again, and Hyperion is accommodating him until he can get to his chiropractor, and the Squadron Supreme is just shocked about the whole thing.

"A Small Sacrifice"

Writer: Mark Gruenwald

Penciler: Bob Hall

Inker: John Beatty

Letterer: Janice Chiang

Colorist: Christie Scheele

Editor: Ralph Macchio

Editor-In-Chief: Jim Shooter

The issue begins with Doctor Spectrum, Golden Archer, and Tom Thumb carrying loads of boxes towards a crowd in a city thanks to Spectrum's GL-esque abilities.

The boxes are filled with food, and the people of this city are all too happy to finally get a decent meal after a while. However, poor Tom Thumb gets teased a bit.

The mayor expresses his gratitude towards the heroes, an let's them address the crowd. Doctor Spectrum and Golden Archer reassure everyone that the roads have been cleared up and the food industry is working to feed the country again. However, poor Tom Thumb gets passed over when it comes to speaking to the crowd.

Yeah, this was something that was minorly touched on in the last issue with Thumb's interactions with the computer, Aida. It gives the impression that Tom has been struggling with feeling lonely and well, small for the long time. It also gives the impression that the other members of the Squadron don't directly ignore or disrespect Tom, it's something they don't realize they do.

A group of men claiming to be city councilmen get up on the improvised stage and take the mayor hostage.

The men demand that Archer and Spectrum drop their weapons. Considering the risk to the mayor, Archer and Spectrum do so. The men call themselves Freedom Force, and state they find the Squadron guilty of their actions under the control of Over-Mind. One of the men reveals his brother died during that time. As such, they sentence the Squadron to death by execution.

More men appear, surrounding the Squadron members. Archer thinks that they'll never be able to convince them that the Squadron were under mind control. You know, Archer, it wouldn't hurt to at least try. You might be able to convince someone. After all, even in a world like this, with superheroes and magic, being controlled by an alien can't be that inconceivable to people.

The men march the three Squadron members to the big pile of crates, and improvise a firing squad. The leader obtains Doctor Spectrum's Power Prism and announces his intent to use it to make the Squadron pay for their crimes, but the thing is...Doctor Spectrum doesn't need to actually hold his Power Prism to command it. He can do it by remote.

Spectrum is able to disarm the holder of his Prism, and he and Archer make short work of the wannabe firing squad. And Tom Thumb is left sulking, thinking that no one treated him like he was even there.

Meanwhile, Whizzer and Nuke are racing across a bridge. Nuke tells Whizzer he has some business up north, and flies off. Whizzer thinks that he knows Nuke was really bothered by something, but won't tell him anything. Nuke changes to civvies, and visits his sick parents. Since they don't have much longer, they admit to him that they know what is killing them: They're suffering from radiation poisoning.

They have cancer caused by radiation poisoning. Nuke has powers based around radiation. Put two and two together. Later, the Squadron hold a meeting to discuss their progress in repairing America. Hyperion reports that the U.S. Mint is operating again, and the banks will reopen Wednesday. Power Princess reports that 75% of the food processing plants on the East Coast are back in business, and she and Arcanna will start on the West Coast tomorrow. Whizzer and Nuke managed to evacuate all the internment camps and get food to all the prisons. Tom Thumb reports that 95% of all the power an natural gas likes have been restored. A lot has been done in only one month.

Doc Spectrum tells Hyperion about the incident with the wannabe firing squad, and Hyperion remarks that after the food crisis is over, they've got to work on the disarmament program. Oh yeah, the gun-worshipping rednecks will love that one, Hype.

Lady Lark remarks that the Squadron should look into expanding their membership, as there's still a lot to do, and only 12 Squadron members. However, they get interrupted by a surprise guest.

It's the Scarlet Centurion! Well, a hologram of him at the very least. He does the typical supervillain thing, announcing that he has a legion of ten thousand temporal warriors who shall invade the Earth. Hyperion...warns him that's not a good idea right now, considering the Earth is still not in the best of shape.

Surprisingly, the Centurion agrees, stating that it's no fun conquering a world that is a ruin. He then says the Squadron haven't seen the last of him, that old cliché. The hologram vanishes, and the Squadron cheer Hyperion's scaring him off. With that out of the way, he and Power Princess announce that they will meet with the new President tomorrow...which reminds them of Nighthawk, which leads them to wonder where he went off to. Hyperion states that he went by his home, but he wasn't there. You think the Squadron would be looking for the guy, at the very least to see if he's alright. Although they probably were very busy fixing the world.

In a mirthful moment, Doc Spectrum reminds everyone that it's poker night, and the Squadron, sans Hyperion and Power Princess, play some cards, except for one.

I love the layout of these panels. We see Tom Thumb quietly leaving the table and going off. And we get some dialogue from Amphibian. Poor Amphibian never really got any spotlight in this issue so far. I get the feeling Mark wasn't quite sure what to do with him.

Anyway, Tom Thumb mentally grumbles about feeling left out again...which does make me scratch my head. In this case, I didn't see then outright letting Tom out, even unintentionally. Maybe that's just me. Anyway, Tom does have a friend: Aida. They talk for a bit, and then Nuke appears, wanting to ask Tom a favor. Nuke fears his energy powers are increasing in strength.

He fires a blast at an energy analyzer, and Nuke's fears are confirmed. His energy powers have increased 52% in strength. He then realizes that his general radioactivity has increased as well, which means it's getting dangerous to be around him for long periods of time.

Nuke explains that his parents have cancer from radiation poisoning, and he thinks it's because of him. He's the youngest of the Squadron, and he still lives with them. They also have no idea he is Nuke...this makes me scratch my head. Nuke was with the rest of the Squadron when they unmasked in the last issue. Didn't his parents see that on TV? And if they did, wouldn't they have also figured out that being around him is why they're ill?

He doesn't have much besides them, as he doesn't really have any friends, and he's occupied with his Squadron duties. Much like Tom himself. Nuke is desperate to save his parents, and makes a very big request of Tom...

Tom admits in his mind it's a tall order. After, how many scientists over how many decades have puzzled over this problem? Tom, however, fears that if he doesn't do it, Nuke will hate him. He then agrees to try. Nuke is overjoyed, and leaves to go see his parents. Tom realizes that he messed up. He then becomes determined to do what some say may be impossible.

The next day, Hyperion finds Tom asleep at Aida's keyboard. He wakes him up and Tom requests to be taken off field duty for a while as he's got some projects going. Hyperion agrees, as Tom is the smartest guy in the Squadron, and he can decide where his brain is needed most. Tom then tells Aida to not let him sleep again. Yeah, that's not smart, Tom. Even you need sleep. Your body and mind will be hurting if you don't get sleep.

Later that morning, Blue Eagle, Lady Lark, and Nuke are flying over what I think is the GW Bridge connecting New York and New Jersey. The comic calls it the George Orwell Bridge, which connects New Wesley and New Troy. Yeah, Earth-712 has many of the same places that "our" world does, but given new names. For example, Washington, DC is known as Capitol City, Magelland. It's a neat way of paying homage to DC using fictional cities for their characters, but it can be confusing as I have a tough time sometimes figuring out what each place is supposed to be the counterpart of at times. There's also another nod with the bridge's name: George Orwell wrote 1984.

They got word of mobs blocking the trucks bringing food to Cosmopolis, aka Earth-712's New York City. Lady Lark inquires about Blue Eagle's new name and suit, and he explains it was a gift from his father, who recently passed on.

Nuke signals them, indicating he found the mobs. They're storming the trucks, demanding food. Lady Lark uses her powerful voice to try and calm people down, but the mobs are angry, they're hungry, and they are fed up with waiting. Nuke decides to take action himself, and...

His fireworks display causes a panic, and Lark and Eagle chastise him for it with help from her voice. Nuke asks them not to report this to Hyperion. That evening, the Squadron have a meeting, and Nuke realizes he's off the hook. Tom tells Nuke he has something for him.

It's a brand-new radiation suit. Much to Nuke's chagrin, he's going to have to wear it around people because of his increasing radioactivity, and considering he's around people almost all the time...yeah. A downcast Nuke decides not to join the other Squadron for a poker game, and with the problem of Nuke's increasing radioactivity supposedly solved, Tom can concentrate on finding a cure for cancer. Eight days pass, and no luck on that front for Tom. Nuke tells him his parents are getting worse, and he's really scared. He's begging Tom to hurry on that cure. Tom gets frustrated about the lack of time he has, but is hit with a bolt of inspiration.

Tom grabs an object from a crate. Basically, it's a backpack and helmet that would allow him to travel through time. Tom uses it to visit the 40th Century home of the Scarlet Centurion. And Tom wants to make a bargain with the future-born warlord.

The Scarlet Centurion has a little something called a Panacea Potion. The potion supposedly does right what the name says: It can cure any disease, heal any wound, even reverse aging. But there's a price. The Centurion will give him the potion, if Tom uses an argonite capsule to poison Hyperion. With Hyperion weakened, the Scarlet Centurion will be able to defeat the Squadron and conquer the world.

Tom ultimately decides that the price is not worth the potion. He can't betray his only friends, the Squadron Supreme. He goes back home and the Scarlet Centurion laughs. A heartbroken Tom cries himself to sleep. Nuke finds him the next day, and Tom tells him the truth: He couldn't do it. He couldn't find a cure for his parents' cancer. Nuke is totally understanding about it. After all, Tom did try his best, and many before Tom have tried to tackle that problem...

See? Nuke is totally understanding! Yeah, I like to think that Nuke's increasing powers are also affecting his mind on top of his own fears and desperation to not lose his family. Tom apologizes to Nuke, saying heroes shouldn't betray each other for any reason. This is a theme that was seen often in Gruenwald's work, from this to Captain America and even his work on the New Universe title DP7: The idea that one should always stick to their principles. It may be the harder thing to do, but ultimately, it's the right thing to do. The Captain America No More storyline he wrote is a great example of this theme being prominent in his work.

Anyway, Tom quietly reveals that Nuke's parents won't be alone in meeting the Grim Reaper soon.

Tom has cancer, too. And his prognosis is not good. I think we can safely assume he got sick from hanging around Nuke all the time.

Squadron Supreme #2 is really good. Again, Mark Gruenwald shows his skills at balancing a large cast (Well, except for Amphibian, guy never really does anything), and he manages to keep the story packed in a good way. Bob Hall's art is serviceable, but it still has the same flaws that I pointed out in my look at the last issue: His close-ups are fantastic, but his art does seem to suffer when it comes to drawing characters at a distance. Although I'm thinking it may be more of the inking rather than the penciler's fault.

If you find this issue in the back issue bins, get it. Heck, get the whole mini! After looking at this heavy issue, I feel the need to look at something more light-hearted and fun. Ah, I know! Next time, we'll look at a Back to the Future comic!

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L1701E
Writer and Artist of Stuff
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You wouldn't believe what my real name is.

I like to draw and write. I also am an avid reader and gamer. Have a strange obsession with 1970s and 1980s pop culture.

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wytherwing Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2017
thank you for the :+fav: on Doc Doom OS :)
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I hope you'll like this devilkais.deviantart.com/art/I…
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This is JBX9001!  I'd like to thank you for adding some of my art to your favorites!  Be sure to check out my other art too, and expect many more to come in the future!
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Thanks so much for the faves on my cosplay and modeling work, Baybee! Mirei Shy Icon by Magical-Icon  

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