Last Hero Standing #3

Background

Loki, Norse God of Mischief, has been kidnapping heroes of the MC2 Universe (including Spider-Man, Wolverine, and others), sending the remaining heroes into a frenzy searching for them. Spider-Girl, along with Captain America, Wild Thing, and the Avengers that hadn't been kidnapped found a mysterious portal in the underground passages that led to Asgard...where they encountered an enormous army of trolls they were forced into combat with.

Story Details

Mary Jane Watson-Parker holds her baby son, Ben, in her arms as she tries once more to call her daughter's cell-phone. Peter and Mayday and have both been missing for several hours, and she's getting nervous. Suddenly, MJ hears the sound of someone entering the house by window (something she should be quite used to by now, I would think), and she becomes nervous. Following the sound, she finds Peter, in full Spidey-regalia, other than his mask, and anxiously asks where he's been, and of May's whereabouts. Peter callously tells her he hasn't seen May, but that he understands his responsibility and "what has to be done." As he turns to face MJ, his eyes glow with a strange light. MJ notices this and, frantic, inquires again as to her daughter's safety.

Spider-Girl, in Asgard, narrowly avoids a blow thrown by an Asgardian troll. She cracks wise as the troll tells her to surrender, and Captain America orders the Avengers to fall back, as they are obviously outnumbered by the enormous troll army. J2 plows through trolls, and Wild Thing rips into them with her psi-claws. She threatens a troll soldier, and Captain America throws his shield at her to discourage her from torturing him. The trolls notice that the Avengers are arguing amongst themselves and take advantage of the situation, taking down Cap, Thunderstrike, and Wild Thing. Thunderstrike tells J2 to run and save himself, and Spider-Girl jumps on J2's back, urging him to take Thunderstrike's advice. J2 reluctantly does so and plows a hole in a canyon wall to escape, as Captain America looks on, disgusted that an Avenger would abandon his teammates.

Darkdevil leaps across the city rooftops and comes across an unusually violent Spider-Man tearing into some street thugs. He jumps down to street level and urges Spider-Man to cut back a little on the violence, to which Spider-Man responds by calling himself a champion of justice, and Darkdevil a "lawless vigilante." He throws insults as he throws the first punch on Darkdevil, and as Darkdevil defends himself, Spider-Man rants about how the city has become a cesspool of crime, and that he's responsible for cleaning it up...including "lawbreakers" like Darkdevil.

The Vision, now an advisor to President G.W. Bridge, flies over the Avengers compound and sinks through the roof into the command center, where he meets with Stinger, who has just concluded a video-conference with Jubilee. Stinger lets him know that they've received reports of some of the victims of the kidnappings having returned, apparently unharmed. Jarvis walks in and tells them they are needed in the conference room, and when they arrive, they find Doc Magus, Hawkeye, the Scarlet Witch, Freebooter, and American Dream safe and sound...all with that strange look in their eyes. They all claim to have no knowledge of where they'd been; their memories end with wherever they were at the time of the kidnapping, and then begin again in a subway tunnel. Vision comments on Scarlet Witch's awakening from her coma, and then mentions the dark glow in her eyes. Freebooter immediately mentions his new plans for fighting crime, and Jarvis runs in to inform Stinger of the Darkdevil/Spider-Man fight in Queens.

J2 and Spider-Girl hide from trolls as they walk by, and overhear talk of their master, Loki. J2 explains who Loki is to Spider-Girl, and they debate whether they should go back to Midgard and call in other heroes.

Captain America, Wild Thing, and Thunderstrike sit in chains, wondering where J2 is. Thunderstrike stands firm that J2 did the right thing in retreating so that he could gather a rescue team from their earth. Captain America states that Avengers don't desert other Avengers, and then chastises Wild Thing for her attack that he halted on the troll. Wild Thing says that she wouldn't have hurt the troll, and just wanted to scare him into revealing the location of the fallen heroes...to which Cap has no response.

Two trolls bring the man called Nova to their master, Loki, who informs them that they may stop capturing heroes, as the other heroes have discovered his lair and he has returned the other captives. He seizes an amulet from around his neck, and a dark magic flows from it into Nova's nostrils, giving his eyes that strange, dark glow. Loki announces that he has taken the heroes' kindness, integrity, and compassion, and that they are now no longer heroes, leaving him free to do as he pleases.

Back in the cave where Cap and the lot are being held captive, Wild Thing laments that she may try to pop her claws to escape, but might not be able to do so without hurting herself. Suddenly, a loud "THUMPPP!" noise approaches, getting louder and louder, and Captain America laments that he may need to apologize as J2 and Spider-Girl crash through the wall to the rescue. After removing the captives' chains, Captain America rightly apologizes to the young heroes for not having faith in them. They go to the next cave to find Nova trapped in the same strange crystal prison from last issue. They bust Nova out, and Wild Thing declares that her father's scent is somewhat fresh. Cap points out that Loki must have realized that his plans would be discovered and removed the kidnapped heroes already...and more than likely, has already set his plans into motion.

Meanwhile, back on Midgard, Loki stands invisible watching a battle break out between the kidnapped heroes and the ones unaffected by his dark magic. His plan HAS been set into motion...the heroes will battle one another until not one is left.

General Comments

Alright, the first thing I've gotta say is that I really don't like the Captain America of this series. He's really been a self-righteous jerk, with no faith in his fellow heroes. I mean, I know he's a soldier, and a legendary one at that, but Captain America has been known for putting faith and trust in his comrades. His distrust of these young Avengers is uncharacteristic. For someone who's been in the super-hero biz for as long as he has, he should be quite familiar with these heroes and their abilities. "Avengers don't desert other Avengers"-well, desertion was the furthest thing from J2's mind, buddy, and you should have realized that.

Now, for the story...I'm still unimpressed. The last image is a two-page spread showing the two sides of the upcoming super-hero battle; those affected by Loki's spell, and those not. But really...an all-out, mind-controlled battle between super-heroes? We've seen super-heroes battle it out a billion times before over slight misunderstandings, and they always kiss and make up at the end. I have a sneaking suspicion there's going to be a heckuva lot more than just one hero standing at the end of this...in fact, I'm pretty sure that the vast majority of the heroes involved will still be standing. Where is this debacle going, and why should I care?

Overall Rating

Two webs. This story's going a lot like my last trip skiing...downhill fast.