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Armor Up

April 15, 2010

     In Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #5, the final issue of the miniseries, Gladiator and the remaining members of the Imperial Guard fly to the rescue of their compatriots.  Jahf, one of the guardians of the M’Kraan Crystal, allows its use to reach the Fault as fast as possible, though Chancellor Araki believes it’s a bad idea.  Gladiator and the reinforcements help to turn the tide, and he flies over to the Starjammers’ ship to get news from Mentor.  He gets pissed when he sees Talon, but Talon says that he was not the one who murdered Lilandra.  Rather, it was the rogue Darkhawk (sounds like more trickery to me).  However, he offers the two amulets to add two more members to the Fraternity of Raptors to increase their firepower.  Mentor and Plutonia volunteer together, and they, Talon, Quasar, and Gladiator sally forth.  Neutron is killed while fighting side by side with Fang, and shortly later, the massive Professor Xavier brain moves in for the kill.  It attacks all of them telepathically, but with dampers on, Raza Longknife manages to toss his old symbiote at it, and Ch’od breaks the container, leaving the brain to contend with it.  The Guard retreats, and Gladiator brings the issue of the dangers of the Fault to the attention of Medusa and the Galactic Council.  Then, Fang honors the death of his friend along with his fellow Guardsmen before they prep to go help the galaxy deal with the potential dangers of the Fault.

     Well, the fact that I felt sad about Neutron’s death is a testament to Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s writing skills.  They managed to take the weakest of the Realm of Kings books and make it so that, by the end, you actually liked the characters.  As usual with these two, it’s very difficult to find something wrong with their work.  It may not always be the most exciting and ground-breaking, but it’s always technically sound and very entertaining.  I am very curious as to what Talon’s true motives are, since it isn’t entirely clear to me if he’s lying about Darkhawk.  Darkhawk is rogue, but I’m pretty sure that he killed Lilandra on Talon’s orders.  Also, from what I do know about that miniseries, since Talon’s host is dead, shouldn’t he be dead too?  Whatever.  Obviously, the Fraternity of Raptors will be expanded upon as time goes on.  Kevin Walker’s work is still very sound, even if his faces (like Admiral Ka’ardum’s on the first page) can be extremely ugly.  He really made all of the Cancerverse creatures just gross, and the scene with the symbiote and the Xavier brain was even more so.  I can’t wait to see everything that comes with the Thanos Imperative, the next major cosmic storyline, and I just hope that Abnett and Lanning have time to treat all of the characters they’ve worked on as well as they have thus far.  Gladiator more so than most of them.

Plot: 8.8      Art: 8.5      Dialogue: 9.0      Overall: 8.8

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