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Friday, October 16, 2009

Comic Review - War of Kings 1-6


Title/Storyline
War of Kings 1-6
Publish Date/Year
2009
Creative Team
Abnett and Lanning, Paul Pelletier
Publisher
Marvel

Story
This event builds up from previous events including
- X-Men Deadly Genesis
- Rise and Fall of the Shi'ar Empire
- X-Men: Emperor Vulcan
- X-Men: Kingbreaker
- Silent War

The above stories tell of the Return of Vulcan, Vulcan’s rise to power becoming Shi’ar’s new Emperor. Vulcan is an Omega Level Mutant*, who is Cyclops (Scott Summers) and Havok's (Alex Summers) long lost younger brother, often referred to as the 3rd Summers Brother in X-Men lore. Why the Inhumans changed their status quo and left Earth’s Moon to pursue their destiny in the stars among the Kree.
* meaning you wouldn’t want to have him as your enemy

The Series starts off with The Starjammers (now led by Havok and Polaris after Corsair's demise) arrive at the wedding of Crystal and Ronan The Accuser on Hala, the Kree Homeworld. Meanwhile, Vulcan was getting to know his Imperial guard and prep them for an opportunistic attack on the Kree during the wedding. The attack was vicious and abrupt, resulting in both sides sustaining major casualties. On the Kree side, Cho’d loses his right hand, Gorgon’s right leg is broken while Ronan was seriously hurt in the attack and L’ilandra abducted.

This prompts a militaristic response from the Inhuman/Kree. Mobilizing Maximus’ powerful new giant-robot machines that are powered by Black Bolt’s voice for the counter-attack.

most of the Shi'ar scenes were told from Gladiator’s viewpoint and we see his internal struggle between his duty to the Shi’Ar Throne, now ruled by a madman, and his personal loyalty to the now captive Lilandra, the rightful Shi’ar leader.

Meanwhile, Guardians of the Galaxy and the Starjammers execute Lilandra’s escape. With Gladiator on duty, they fail. However, this is when Gladiator switch sides!

#4 brings the Fraternity of the Raptors (see http://jmerb.blogspot.com/2009/07/comic-review-war-of-kings-darkhawk.html) into the series while Gladiator and Lilandra loyalists are staging a coup to re-take the throne from Vulcan. Vulcan retaliates by sending the Shi’Ar Death Commandos to quell the uprising. In the midst of all the mayhem, Lilandra is assassinated by a Raptor (who happens to be Darkhawk! Seriously!).

With Lilandra out of the picture, a peaceful resolution was no longer an option for Inhuman/Kree. Thus, the only way to end the war between Shi'ar and Inhuman/Kree Empires is with a massively destructive weapon Black Bolt & Maximus had devised – the T-Bomb (or terrigen Bomb). Once detonated, it will transform everyone within range a la Inhuman Terrigen-triggered Transformation. Hence uniting all as they will alas all be Inhumans. The only catch is, the T-Bomb is powered by Black Bolt’s voice. So for the T-bomb to reach Shi’Ar, Black Bolt must sacrifice himself!

Meanwhile back on Chandilar, Shi’Ar’s capital, the Shi’Ar have accepted Gladiator as their new ruler or Majestor.

Vulcan, of course will not let this happen lying down and heads for the incoming T-bomb with Black Bolt on board for the FINAL Showdown between the 2 kings. Crystal and Lockjaw teleport aboard the T-Bomb in a last ditch effort to save their beloved king and also render the Terrigen Crystals inert, but they return to Hala empty handed. The T-Bomd explodes with both monarchs aboard.

The explosion had caused a rift in the fabric of time and space. Something that Adam Warlock and the Guardians of the Galaxy,had been trying to prevent from happening in their series.

Art

Pelletier is another one of those unassuming & under-appreciated artists who consistently deliver solid good quality art. Altho’ his art is not as flashy as Jim Lee or J. Scott Campbell, he conveys much power and subtlety in his story-telling.

Additional Comments
Written by Marvel’s premiere Cosmic Scribes, This is how an EPIC event would be like when done right. One of the best reads this year that easily invokes that nostalgic feeling of suspense & awe when you were a kid. The story has that Epic sense of excitement that is rare in comicbooks these days.
One of the most shocking moments for me was when Ronan knelt down before Black Bolt (in the Prologue issue). Ronan, who has single-handedly fought both the Avengers and Fantastic Four to a standstill!

Despite having a massive cast of characters to play with, the characters all get good “screen time”. Gladiator, Ronan and Crystal each get their moments in the spotlight, foretelling their increasingly important roles in this and the aftermath of the WAR. Throw in the Starjammers, Guardians of the Galaxy, the Nova Corps and the Raptors and this event has all the right ingredients to be a successful epic story.

My only gripe is that the series doesn’t really end with the 6 issues but that readers will need to pick up additional issues to see how the loose ends are tied up. Other than that, I would only have this to say – PICK IT UP!


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War of Kings

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