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The Darkness at the End of the Tunnel

January 10, 2010

     Once again, sorry for the bad quality cover.  With War of Kings completed, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning lead us into the next major overarching storyline of the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe, Realm of Kings.  I’m not entirely sure why they chose that name, but whatever.  In the one-shot opening this storyline, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Nova, Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S., and Quasar talk about what to do with the Fault.  Since he’s pure energy, Quasar offers to investigate it himself.  He flies into the Fault and goes as far as he can until he arrives in an alternate universe.  His appearance has changed (to the costume he had right before he died, I think).  He gets in a fight with a monstrous creature and is rescued by that world’s Avengers.  But something seems wrong.  The creature is the Hulk, and Iron Man kills him once he reverts to Bruce Banner.  These Avengers and this whole world have given themselves up to the Many-Angled Ones, some beings that have turned their entire universe into a giant cancer that seeks to swallow up other worlds.  Only the Scarlet Witch shows any regret for what they are doing.  The Vision suddenly appears and gives Quasar the opportunity to escape, and Quasar gets the opportunity to see how disgusting a universe theirs is.  Back in Earth-616, Quasar returns, though it seems rather to be that world’s Quasar, also infected by the Many-Angled Ones.

     One of the complaints about this issue is that it seems to have little to do with what is going on in the other Realm of Kings titles, aside from being related to the Fault.  Well, I think the point of this is to show us what the overarching menace for the whole story is, where all the other titles are leading us.  This “cancerverse” wants to absorb the normal Marvel Universe, and as everyone explores the Fault, it gets more and more opportunities to leak into Earth-616.  And there’s also all the other horrors that come from other parts of the Fault, like the psychic creature in Guardians of the Galaxy.  It’s a really cool idea, one that seems to take some ideas from H.P. Lovecraft’s work.  I only wonder what happened to our Quasar.  Leonardo Manco and Mahmud Asrar’s art seems rather similar, so there’s no real artistic jolt when the artist changes.  Neither are particularly great, but they’re better than the blad work that the cosmic titles sometimes get.  I’m curious why an android is drawn with such a large… package, but it’s no big deal.  One thing I wish they had was better artists (since Paul Pelletier and Andrea DiVito seem to be the only really good ones they ever get).  I’m really excited to see where Abnett and Lanning take this, but I only hope that Black Bolt comes back, or that at the very least, Vulcan doesn’t.  This isn’t their best work, but it’s leading us into something big and awesome.

Plot: 8.8      Art: 8.4      Dialogue: 9.0      Overall: 8.7

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