Last Hero Standing #2

 Posted: 2005
 Staff: Jeff Caplan (E-Mail)


One-by-one, an unknown adversary is kidnapping the superheroes of MC2. Already missing are Wolverine, Ladyhawk, the Thing, Scarlet Witch, and the original Spider-Man. Just about every hero left is searching for those missing and the culprit behind the kidnappings, and that includes our woman in the webs, Spider-Girl.

Story Details

Doc Magus, MC2's Sorcerer Supreme, sits in his headquarters in the back of a comic shop. And is visited by the astral form of Dr. Strange, who requests his help finding the missing heroes, saying he's already contacted the Hulk and Namor. Doc Magus refuses, making a much-appreciated reference to the Defenders and claiming he can find the kidnapped heroes on his own. He is chastised by Dr. Strange for his arrogance, and Strange disappears suddenly. Deacon, Magus's civilian partner, criticizes Magus's refusal to work with Strange, and leaves as Doc Magus slips into his astral form to look for the missing heroes on his own, as he said he would.

Doc Magus's astral form reaches the tunnel that Peter Parker disappeared into and follows the tunnels underground. He suddenly senses a convenient "mystical presence" and casts a spell to reveal it, using what appears to be the Eye of Agamotto, although this is never stated. An inky, shadow-like form appears and taunts Doc Magus, who hastily and irreverently ignores the creatures words and attacks him. The mystical creature easily resists Doc Magus's spells and grabs hold of his astral form and reunites it with his physical body, all the while talking down to him (and rightly so). That dreaded "RRRRR-SSHLUMPPP" abduction sound effect is heard by Deacon, who runs into the other room to find the familiar pit where Doc Magus had been, showing us another rather anticlimactic hero abduction as an introduction.

Thunderstrike finally comes across Captain America working out in the Avengers' gym, and informs the soldier that Stinger is calling a meeting regarding the missing heroes. Cap explains that at his age, a daily workout is a necessity, and dismounts from his training position. However, Cap slips up on the landing, and Thunderstrike expresses concern. Cap says that he should have nailed the landing, and Thunderstrike, while he agrees that Captain America is getting old, says that Cap is being too hard on himself, and stresses that even these new Avengers still trust him to lead them anywhere.

In the Avengers meeting, a list of suspects have been created based on the fact that victims were assaulted from underground, and the list is comprised of Kala, "queen of the underworld"; Tyrannus, "master of the subterraneans" (which, honestly, is not a word, because "subterranean" is an adjective, not a noun...but that's not really what's important right now); Terrax, "the tamer"; the Living Lava Man; and Mole Man, "ruler of Monster Isle." Stinger talks to Jubilee of the X-People (which, by the by, I'm SO GLAD that's what the X-team of the future is called, X-People...that's RICH) and informs her that the Fantastic Five are investigating the Mole Man while Dr. Strange looks into Tyrannus. Jubilee is reluctant to share information, and tells Stinger that the X-People will not be cooperating with other heroes to investigate the missing heroes, as she believes that the attacks are mostly focused on mutants, being that Wolverine was among the first to be kidnapped, and it appears that Cyclops has been kidnapped as well. Wild Thing complains about her fellow mutants' point of view.

Stinger suggests that Mainframe takes a team to check out Lava Man, and Mainframe agrees to investigate Kala while he's at it. Nova volunteers himself and Speedball to check out Terrax, since they'd dealt with him in the past in the New Warriors. Argo, the son of Hercules, offers to come along with Bluestreak, and Nova responds in perhaps the most asshole-ish way possible, telling Argo he doesn't have time to baby-sit. Stinger suggests that Thunderstrike go to Hawkeye's dojo to get American Dream and Freebooter. Captain America decides to come along, and Wild Thing and J2 follow suit.

At Barton's Dojo, the hero formerly known as Hawkeye explains to American Dream and Freebooter that he believes he's in no danger, as no one would want to kidnap a blind former super-hero. The current heroes begin to leave when "RRRRR-SSHLUMPPP" is replaced by "RRRRRRRRR." However, an outside shot of Barton's Dojo reveals the completion of the onomatopoeia, with a delayed "SSSHLUMPPP."

Meanwhile, at May Parker's house, our super-heroine puts on her costume while she consoles her mother, Mary Jane, regarding Peter's disappearance. Mary Jane remains strong, but expresses her worry for May. May reluctantly tells her mother that she must do what she can to stop the kidnappings, and that she can't promise her safety. Suddenly, May's phone rings, and Stinger tells her that she's calling in all reserve Avengers to help the current situation. May hangs up the phone and shares a hug with her mother, then leaps out the window to do her super-hero thing.

The Fantastic Five arrive at Mole Man's underground lair, discussing whether or not they think the Mole Man could be behind the kidnappings. It seems to be a general consensus in the FF that their former enemy is not the mastermind behind the disappearances, and, when they find what appears to be memorial to the Mole Man, they wonder who could possibly be culprit.

Meanwhile, back at Barton's Dojo, Spider-Girl arrives on the scene to find Captain America and Thunderstrike investigating the pit that took Hawkeye, American Dream and Freebooter. She makes a joke about joining the party, for which she is chastised by Cap. Thunderstrike jumps into the pit, and the other two follow as Spider-Girl apologizes for offending Captain America. Cap says that he's been touchy, and apologizes back.

J2 urges Wild Thing to slow down as they run through the underground tunnels. Wild Thing tracks the kidnappers as far as she can until the trail goes cold. Spider-Girl and the others catch up, and Thunderstrike blasts a hole in the wall to uncover a dimensional gateway hidden behind the rock. Captain America suggests they return to the surface to get the others, but Wild Thing instead jumps into the portal to rescue her father. J2 follows her, and is followed by Thunderstrike and Captain America. Cap tells Spider-Girl to get to the surface and get the Avengers before he jumps into the portal.

May briefly debates with herself what to do, and jumps into the portal to find her fellow heroes battling with an army of the armored fellows her father encountered before on a New York City street. After a quick exchange with Captain America regarding her disobedience to fetch the Avengers, Thunderstrike informs everyone that they are in Asgard, the plane of the Norse Gods. As an army of the armored Trolls multiplies and sets in to attack our heroes, Captain America calls out "Avengers Assemble!" as the few heroes present prepare to fight the hordes of Trolls that keep appearing.

A messenger Troll runs to his master to tell him that the heroes have found the portal to Asgard. Loki, god of mischief, express his apathy towards the heroes' advancement to Asgard. He turns to the imprisoned heroes that he has already kidnapped and relates that, while he inadvertently caused the events that created the original Avengers, his current plan will put an end to the Age of Heroes, and in turn, destroy the super-heroes of our MC2 universe.

General Comments

Okay, I gotta say, the greatest thing about this mini-series is that it's coming out weekly, so we don't have to wait five months to get the whole story. Unfortunately, the story seems rather uninspired. The opening featuring Doc Magus getting kidnapped by the "mystical creature" seems to be more filler, adding another name to the list of kidnapped heroes. Then there's further development on the "Captain America is old" sub-plot, but nothing that we didn't already know about Cap is introduced, and the sub-plot doesn't do anything more than re-establish the already established foreshadowing. The list of suspects that may be kidnapping the heroes are obviously wrong, and really only furthers the story with one more one-page scene of investigating the wrong culprits. Jubilee of the X-People continues to piss me off by refusing to work with heroes other than mutants, and really, who decided that Jubilee would make a good leader for the inappropriately named "X-People"? Not only is that the dumbest name for a team of super-heroes in the history of super-heroing, but Jubilee is the dumbest choice for a leader. Unfortunately, this is not a review of the MC2 universe, but of LHS #2, and the X-People have been established in MC2 long before Last Hero Standing.

Nova proves himself to be the biggest jerkwad in the entire MC2 universe, and while that seems to be his role in MC2, it never stops being annoying. Every time Nova is featured in Spider-Girl's reality, I find myself wanting to punch him, and I only end up punching holes in my wall, which comes directly out of my security deposit, and thus screws me over. I solely blame the MC2 Nova for my financial instability.

Basically, the story so far seems to me to be solely inspired by the need to put not only all the heroes of the Marvel Universe, but also the heroes of Spider-Girl's world together in one story. While it IS what fans of MC2 have been waiting to see, is this the way in which we should present it? With a predictable plot and bad writing? I mean, Pat Olliffe's pencils look AWESOME complimented by good inks and incredible coloring by Digital Rainbow's Rob Ro, but alone, they can't make up for plain old bad scripting. We may be getting parts of this story once a week, but I'd gladly sacrifice quick satisfaction for a good story.

Overall Rating

The art is magnificent, but I need more than that to enjoy a series such as this. It's a five-parter, guys...issue two should be more than just MORE setup. Two and a half webs...but I'm still hoping that something good comes out of this.

 Posted: 2005
 Staff: Jeff Caplan (E-Mail)