Tuesday, August 1, 2017


Written by Paul Allor, Jeremy Whitley, and Nick Kocher.
Art by Brian Level, Diego Olortegui, and Tana Ford.

Captain America, the murderous, fascist commander of Hydra, has taken over the United States. Mutants have been placed in their own little piece of land, New Tian (formerly known as California). Inhumans are imprisoned in concentration camps. Las Vegas has been obliterated. And this is all just the beginning.

This mini-series gives us a look at characters not involved in the main series. Three stories, with one 10 pages, one six pages, and one four pages. The big one belongs to the Invaders. In this case, Jim Hammond and Toro, who arrive at Atlantis in search of Sanctuary. However, Namor announces to them that Atlantis is neutral, even a collaborator, so he imprisons his former comrades fearing that Captain America and Hydra will destroy his kingdom if he assists them.

In the second story, the new Giant Man goes home to Denver and saves his family from being executed by Hydra soldiers. He then plans to join the Underground, resistance fighters against the current regime.

In the final story, one of Hydra's prisoners, Gwenpool, is forced to be a guest on a subversive Hydra news broadcast spewing their fascist propaganda to any and all viewers.

This is the book you'll want to read if you want to see what's going on with Atlantis, particularly Namor, who was a close comrade of Captain America before he discovered his friend's sinister secret. No other book will tell his tale. And I believe it's important because Namor was indeed one of Steve Rogers's closest friends and allies during WWII, and his reactions and subsequent actions need to be told. Same thing with Jim Hammond and Toro, really. So, all five issues of this series will feature 10 pages of the Invaders and Atlantis, as Secret Empire marches onward.

Namor's stance isn't too surprising. He has a kingdom to protect, and Atlantis can't afford a war with Hydra's massive army after only recently being rebuilt in the pages of SQUADRON SUPREME #15. However, it's not like there are Hydra soldiers anywhere. He could have given sanctuary to Jim and Toro and kept it a secret since they were his close friends. However, there is still plenty of time for him to change his mind.

I liked Giant Man's story. He's fairly new to me, and it was nice to learn about his backstory. And since he's been seen in the main series, I liked that he got his own story to tell in these pages, that we got to see how he joined Hawkeye's Underground. We also learned that the Grizzly and Machinesmith both joined Zemo's Army of Evil, which wasn't very surprising, even though they were Giant Man's roommates for a short time.

The final story was amusing, as most Gwenpool stories usually are. But I especially liked this tale because I wanted to know how Gwenpool was faring in the new Hydra Nation. Her book has yet to tie in with any main event thus far, and as I don't get that book, it's nice to get a short story with her here without paying another $3.99 to get a book I normally don't buy. And it had the usual antics one normally sees in her book, too. Her interview alongside a giant bat soldier of Hydra posing as Spider-Man was pretty hilarious, along with the titles of her "novel" that told everyone of the trouble she was in. We'll never see her again throughout this event, but I like that we got a little something-something with her to tell us what's going on with her in this terrible new world.

I look forward to reading the remainder of the series, featuring more Invaders action alongside stories with various lower tier characters.

Monday, July 24, 2017


I've figured out how SECRET EMPIRE is going to end. It all goes back to SECRET AVENGERS I#11-12. In these issues by Ed Brubaker, Captain America uses a machine to try and figure out why WWII hero John Steele went back and joined the Shadow Council. This machine connected to the Vanishing Point, a portal that leads to other places in space and time. With this machine, Cap was able to see John Steele's memories and watch them play out on a viewscreen. Well, Steele's memories are fragmented, but Cap remembers the last mission he and Steele went on, the mission where Steele vanished afterwards. So Cap hooks himself up to the machine and adds his memories to Steele's. At one point there was trouble and Cap had to be pulled out. Steele finished remembering on his own.
I posit that the second Cap being seen in the SECRET EMPIRE series is actually a part of his consciousness that had been left behind in that machine. This is the consciousness of Cap when he was good, heroic, and all that, untainted by anything. That bit is making its way to Nazi Cap, and by the end of the storyline, it will merge with Nazi Cap's brain, thus restoring Cap's mind without any foolishness like using a cube to fix him, or anything else. There won't have to be a reset button. We'll have Cap back tothe way he was but he will still have to endure his actions over the past year or so, as will his associates, friends, and fellow citizens.

The first sighting of Vanishing Point was in SECRET AVENGERS I#3, when Major Aloysius Thorndrake of the Confederate Army and his companions came across it out of nowhere in 1885 Texas.

Thursday, April 6, 2017


Monarch. Originally, he was an oppressive tyrant (and a former hero gone bad) from the year 2030 who had murdered all superheroes. Originally, he was supposed to be Nathaniel Adam, aka Captain Atom, but word leaked before the revelation and DC scrambled to change his identity, so he ended up being Hank Hall, aka Hawk, of Hawk & Dove fame. It was a foolish notion, as Hawk battled Monarch face-to-face in a version of his future where he destroyed Monarch. But then, of course, Waverider really only saw a variation of Hank Hall's future, not his actual one, so I guess it still worked, although there were other reasons why Hank Hall made a poor choice.

In any case, Hank Hall went mad after the future Monarch murdered Dove, so in response he murdered Monarch...and then became Monarch for the first time. Time travel, right? Anyway, Monarch went on to be a villain, although actually he didn't really get to do very much as one. He battled Captain Atom at various points in time during the ARMAGEDDON: THE ALIEN AGENDA mini-series, after which he was promptly lost in time somewhere. He later returned and became Extant, which is the guise he used to cause the most trouble. He was also killed under this alias, also.

Unlike other characters who slipped through the cracks of each Crisis event and survived as new iterations, Monarch continued on with other characters taking on his identity, causing multi-dimensional havoc whenever he could. After ZERO HOUR, a second Monarch showed up in the pages of EXTREME JUSTICE. This one turned out to be Nathaniel Adam, the man who Captain Atom was supposed to be. It turned out that, during the experiment in the 1960s that made him Captain Atom, Nathaniel became trapped in the quantum field where the excess alien metal from the experiment formed a replica of Nathaniel,after which it re-entered the timestream in the mid 80s as Captain Atom, unaware it wasn't the original Nathaniel Adam. Meanwhile, still floating in the quantum field, the real Nathaniel Adam encountered Monarch, who had found himself trapped here after the events of ARMAGEDDON: THE ALIEN AGENDA. Nathaniel. trained Hank Hall to manipulate the quantum field and gain powers of time travel. Hall escaped back into the timestream and later became Extant, but he before he did that he sent the Monarch armor back into the quantum field for Nathaniel Adam to use. Adam became Monarch and traveled to the 1990s. HE began a plot to control the world through genetic implants he inserted into people, including a dying Booster Gold, under the guise of healing them. But Booster's future technology resisted the implants, and ultimately Monarch was defeated.

And then along came INFINITE CRISIS. History was changed, and Monarch was no more. However, Captain Atom was still around, and his alien shell body was breached by one of the Monitors, who was playing a deadly game of cosmic chess with Darkseid. With dangerous radiation leaking out of him, the Atomic Knights placed Captain Atom inside an updated version of the Monarch armor. Captain Atom went nuts, murdered Major Force, and obliterated the rest of Bludhaven. His mental faculties continued to deteriorate as he entered the Bleed, the space between multiverses, and traveled around to expand his knowledge of said newly discovered multiverse.

After he accumulated said knowledge, Monarch gathered a colossal army of soldiers from across the entire multiverse in order to destroy the Monitors. He planned to destroy the multiverse and condense it to just one universe, one only he would rule. Soldiers in his army included the Crime Society of Earth-3, the JLAxis of Earth-10, Forerunner of Earth-48, the Extremists of Earth-8, and Red Son Superman of Earth-30. He chose other soldiers who battled for the right to be in his army in the pages of COUNTDOWN ARENA. Eventually, however, Monarch encountered Superboy-Prime, and the two fought until Prime ripped Monarch's chestplate open, creating an explosion that devastated the entire Earth-51 universe. An amnesiac Captain Atom resurfaced sometime later back on Earth, and it is assumed the Monarch armor was destroyed for good.

And then came FLASHPOINT. So far, Monarch has yet to reappear. Captain Atom has, in a new iteration, but he is a force for good. However, some things should be noted. During a storyline in THE FURY OF FIRESTORM, THE NUCLEAR MEN, Captain Atom was forced to absorb a massive amount of energy that split his molecules apart into three pieces that were thrust into the timestream. One such piece appeared in the 31st Century as Nathaniel Adym, an agent of Echo, a covert branch of the Science Police assigned to monitor the timestream. A mission took Adym to the 21st Century where he encountered members of the 31st Century Legion of Super-Heroes who had become trapped in the era. A singularity bomb exploded during a battle that launched Adym further in to the past, where his mind became twisted and he took on the persona of Harvest, channeling deadly energy through a staff he created. He founded the organization N.O.W.H.E.R.E. to experiment on young metahumans for undisclosed purposes.

A second piece of Captain Atom remained in the present day, until an explosion caused by his own powers hurled him back into the 80s in the pages of THE FALL & RISE OF CAPTAIN ATOM. He returned to the present, but five years later, from 2012 to 2017, causing him to be MIA during those missing years.

The third piece of Captain Atom has yet to appear. In an alternate future, Captain Atom exiled himself to Mars to avoid harming humanity and slowly went mad from isolation. This version could be the third missing piece, but seems unlikely. In any case, considering how this variant Captain Atom went mad, and how the Nathaniel Adym piece also became twisted, we maybe seeing some version of Monarch appear at some point in the future.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

CRISIS OF REBIRTH, PART 11: Those Who Keep Surviving...Dark Angel

Dark Angel is a vengeful, reality altering woman from Earth-7, the analog of Earth-0's Donna Troy. When she was a child, she was rescued from a burning apartment building by the Anti-Monitor, who then raised her to be his herald. 

Before CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS, she was a bringer of doom, a wandering spirit living off of one host after another. During World War II, she took possession of the Baroness Paula Von Gunther, a brilliant Nazi saboteur. After the Crisis was over and a single earth was born, Dark Angel/Paula Von Gunther escaped the compression of every Donna Troy into one single person, slipped through the cracks of reality, and once again plagued mankind. During WWII, she became a Nazi occultist and an enemy of Wonder Woman and the Justice Society of America. She also plagued Wonder Woman's mother, Hippolyta, attempting to kidnap Princess Diana but instead capturing Donna Troy. She cursed Donna to live thousands of lifetimes, with each one always ending in tragedy, and each one the life of a former alternate reality Donna Troy. However, Troy fought against her, and eventually she broke the cycle. 

And then came INFINITE CRISIS. Dark Angel once again slipped through the cracks, but this time her status was, and remains, unknown. It's possible she is an alternate counterpart of Donna Troy from Earth-7, but she may have a different origin altogether. What is known is that she became a servant of the 52 Monitors who watched over each of the new 52 known universes. She tested Supergirl to see if she deserved to exist in the new multiverse and decided she should be erased from existence. However, the Monitors intervened and assigned her to destroy Earth-48, home of the Forerunners. She was successful in her task. She later pursued Donna Troy, Kyle Rayner, and Jason Todd through the multiverse and found them on Earth-50. She injured several heroes from this world during a battle.

After that, Dark Angel was assigned to Earth-33 and posed as an Oracle of this world of conjurers and mystical denizens. When Viza'aziv, the last remaining Forerunner, arrived and uncovered Dark Angel's plot, Dark Angel shred her disguise and attacked, killing Earth-33's Starman during the melee. She was defeated, but Dark Angel managed to escape before being killed by Forerunner.

Currently, Dark Angel has yet to appear during either the New 52 or DC UNIVERSE REBIRTH, but she's likely still out there, waiting to strike.

CRISIS OF REBIRTH, PART 10: Those Who Keep Surviving...Psycho-Pirate

Robert Hayden. The Psycho-Pirate of Earth-2. Uses the Medusa Mask to generate emotions into another person's mind. During the Crisis, the Anti-Monitor enhanced his power and made him do all sorts of nasty things. He used to be a gangster who went to prison for attacking his abusive psychiatrist daddy and ran afoul of various members of the Justice Society of America.

After the Crisis was over, Hayden was imprisoned in a padded cell at a psychiatric ward. This was because he had gone insane, having retained full knowledge of the multiverse and the events of the Crisis. He did break out of the hospital once to try and take over Markovia, but he was stopped by the combined might of Infinity Inc. and the Outsiders. Once back in the asylum, the Psycho-Pirate showed the ability to manifest any DC Multiverse character that had been killed during the Crisis,and these characters were aware they were nothing but comic book characters. Animal Man intervened, and Hayden seemingly faded away into Limbo. One of the staff members, James Highwater, became the keeper of the Medusa Mask,and no one realized he wasn't Hayden. This incident is sometimes referred to as the Secret Crisis.

Not long after the events of ZERO HOUR, Hayden returned to reality and sold his soul to the demon Neron in exchange for more power. Unfortunately, this is a bad period for the Psycho-Pirate. The Medusa Mask was made into an eye patch, and the metal replaced half of his brain. He took to wearing a black leather jacket and matching outfit, and also seemed to be sane. He clashed with Chase Lawler, who was known as the Manhunter at the time, was defeated, and sent to jail.

When next he was seen, Hayden was insane once more, babbling incoherently about the existence of the multiverse. He and other inmates were freed by the Joker and ran amok, but eventually they were all rounded up and re-imprisoned. However, he once again escaped, only this time he went after the only other survivor of the original Earth-2: Power Girl. He tried to weaken her so she could be captured by Alexander Louthor of Earth-3, who wanted to use her in his plans to recreate the multiverse. Hayden was later killed by Black Adam, having his eyes gouged out and the Medusa Mask pushed through his head.

Sometime later, the Medusa Mask became an object sought in a mystical war, but the Teen Titan called Raven destroyed the mask.

And then came FLASHPOINT. In the newly rebooted universe, the Psycho-Pirate showed up as a member of the Twenty, a group of individuals infected with a psionic virus created by Brainiac.  He sought out the Medusa Mask, hoping to use it to protect himself against other psychics. He then spent the following years hiding other telepaths from the H.I.V.E. organization, running afoul of Superman. He took over the minds pf various citizens of Metropolis and caused them to run amok, until Superman defeated him and incinerated the Medusa Mask with his heat vision. However, Hayden managed to escape.

And then came DC UNIVERSE REBIRTH. Now, the Psycho-Pirate is back to his insane original self, still babbling on about the multiverse and how something always keeps changing it. He is currently a prisoner of Batman, who is using him to cure the insanity of Gotham Girl, whom Hayden had driven crazy at the behest of Professor Hugo Strange.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

CRISIS OF REBIRTH, PART 9: Those Who Keep Surviving...Saturn Queen

Saturn Queen. Born Eve Aries of Titan (one of Saturn's moons) in the 21st Century. She is a high-level telepath who, like most telepaths from her world, has a complex set of urges to do good or evil (in her case, evil) that are hard to control. She was a founding member of the Legion of Super-Villains and often fought Superman, in addition to the Legion of Super-Heroes.

As CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS approached, Saturn Queen and her associates, Lightning Lord and Cosmic King, went back in time and murdered the Kents before they could discover the infant Superman. They also killed the robber who murdered Batman's parents. They then took the two and raised them as if they were their own children. When they were older, Batman and Superman became Saturn Queen's enforcers, terrorizing anyone who poses the will of their "adoptive parents". Oddly enough, Saturn Queen became concerned that what she and her associates had done would have irreversible consequences, but she also grew fond of this reality, and of her "boys."

Eventually, however, Wonder Woman opposed her regime. She killed Batman, but in turn was killed by Superman. During the melee, an enormous eruption of energy destroyed the whole timeline, but another one took its place because of the intervention of an older version of Superman (from Alan Moore's "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" timeline) and Darkseid, Lord of Apokolips. Saturn Queen and her LSV associates were replaced as rulers with Ra's al Ghul and became temporal anomalies in the newborn present. Superman and Batman, both restored, attacked the villains, and then they took them to the moment in time in the 31st Century before the villains first changed the timeline to prevent everything that had happened up to this point from happening to begin with. Superman and Batman turned Saturn Queen, Lightning Lord, and Cosmic King over to the Legion of Super-Heroes. Yet, once Superman and Batman return to the 21st Century, the events of CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS happened, and the 31st Century as wiped from existence.

Be that as it may, Saturn Queen survived the Crisis. She slipped through the cracks during the recreation of the universe and found herself stranded in the Phantom Zone, where she encountered Ultraman, another survivor of the Crisis. She came to see him as a suitable replacement for the version of Superman that was her son in a previous reality and took control of his mind, making him believe that she was his mother. Thanks to the events of INFINITE CRISIS and Alexander Luthor of Earth-3, Saturn Queen and Ultraman found themselves on a world similar to the one she had created with the LSV. They went about making the capitol city of Kandor in their image, with Ultraman enforcing her will through acts of terror,as she ruled behind the scenes. They were opposed by Power Girl and Supergirl of the main reality, but Saturn Girl defeated them with her vast telepathic prowess. She then tried to force Supergirl to marry Ultraman as a way to ensure that her perfect world reach its apex. However, her plans were foiled when she telepathically entered Power Girl's mind. She lost control of both Supergirl AND Ultraman, and she was last seen cradling Ultraman's body in her arms as the rebellion started by Power Girl and Supergirl closed in around her.

And then came FLASHPOINT. In the newly restructured reality, Saturn Queen delighted in probing deeply within someone's mind and exposing their darkest desires. She believed that all sentient life forms had deviance laced in their kind and only pretended to perform good deeds to hide their twisted desires. She went about recreating the Legion of Super-Villains, only this time with a smaller cadre of members, and plotted to kill the powers watching over the universe so that chaos and anarchy could run rampant without opposition. She succeeded in destroying the Rock of Eternity, but she and the LSV were later finally defeated by the Legion of Super-Heroes.

As of DC UNIVERSE REBIRTH, Saturn Queen has yet to be seen.

CRISIS OF REBIRTH, PART 8: Those Who Keep Surviving...Lady Quark

Lady Quark, aka Tashana, was originally from Earth-6, a place where the United States had lost the Revolutionary War. Her husband was Lord Volt, and their marriage was an arranged one. She preferred women, and he preferred men, but they agreed to the marriage for the sake of their world and produced a child, a daughter they named Liana. They ruled together as a monarchy and loved their child unconditionally,despite their distaste for one another.

And then came CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS. As anti-matter spread throughout their world, destroying it, Lord Volt and Lady Quark defended their home. However, Lord Volt was killed trying to save their daughter, who was also killed. The entire planet was destroyed, but Lady Quark herself was rescued by Pariah, a dimensional traveler. Once the Crisis was over, Lady Quark joined Pariah and Harbinger in exploring the new, sole Earth that had been created. She is eventually recruited by Vril Dox to join his L.E.G.I.O.N., a peacekeeping space force, and is seemingly killed in a later mission by a parasitic alien shapeshifter. However, she apparently survived the encounter and was captured by Alexander Luthor of Earth-3, who imprisoned her in his tower as a part of his plan to bring the core Earths back into existence. She soon escaped and joined Earth's heroes in defeating Luthor once and for all.

Because of the massive changes wrought by the Crisis, Lady Quark could no longer be from Earth-6. However, it was never revealed where she originated, but one can assume it was from some alternate dimension.

Thanks to FLASHPOINT, Lady Quark has been reintegrated into the current multiverse as a resident of Earth-48, a fusion of her original Earth-6 and pre-Flashpoint Warworld/Earth-48, home of the Forerunners. She, Lord Volt, and their daughter Liana are once again members of the royal family, alongside Viza'aziv, who had been the sole remaining Forerunner of pre-Flashpoint Warworld.

At some unrevealed point, Lady Quark ended up in the custody of A.R.G.U.S., but she was freed by the Justice League of America member, Vibe, during a mass breakout and has presumably returned to her homeworld.