Monday, January 23, 2017

"We're undercover, didn't you get the memo?"

The next time Marvel Unlimited has a sale or an action figure promo or something, I should probably hop back on it; since there are a number of relatively recent titles that I've read a few issues of, but which would be a pain to try and put together a full run of. Like the recent Morbius book, or Secret Avengers, or today's book: from 2014, Avengers Undercover #6, "Going Native, part one" Written by Dennis Hopeless, art by Timothy Green II, inks by Jason Gorder.

Although there is a connection to the Avengers, I kind of wonder if they couldn't have found a better title for this book, since I think there were a ton of Avengers books on the racks at the time. And this was the sequel/follow-up to another one, Avengers Arena, in which 16 super-powered teens were kidnapped by Arcade and forced to fight to the death in Murderworld. (To be fair, Murderworld does predate both Battle Royale and the Hunger Games, but not Lord of the Flies, which was homaged on a cover as well.) The surviving kids killed Arcade, live on camera, and were then held by S.H.I.E.L.D. until Daimon Hellstrom busted them out, to give them a chance to join Baron Zemo's new Masters of Evil. (Not unlike the government cabinet style of A.I.M.'s ministers in Secret Avengers, Zemo has a city full of super-villains, with Hellstrom, Madame Masque, and Constrictor among his upper echelon.) With the exception of Cammi (who plays it straight and is locked up by the villains) the kids decide to "join" the Masters, to bring them down from the inside. Unfortunately, they didn't get the chance to tell one of their own, Death Locket.

Introduced in Avengers Arena, the cyborg girl called Death Locket was Rebecca Ryker, daughter of Harlan Ryker, who was the villain in old Deathlok comics! After she was injured in an explosion, Harlan used Deathlok technologies to rebuild her. While she wasn't the most gung-ho of the group, Death Locket was starting to come into her own, working with another young villain wannabe, Excavator. Who appeared to be a teenager with a mask and a shovel, but seemed up for it: when the Masters are deployed on A.I.M. Island, he encourages Death Locket to take the shot--on Captain America!

There are a couple nice, fairly subtle callbacks to the classic cover to Captain America #286. Death Locket's teammate (and former Runaway) Chase finally gets through to tell her they were pretending to join the Masters, please do not snipe Captain America. This leads to a scuffle between Excavator and Chase, and Death Locket is forced to choose; and shoots Chase. She's pretty dismayed about that, but she seemed somewhat compliant, like she would follow whoever gave the loudest orders: possibly because she was a teenager and Excavator's praise was the closest she had to positive reinforcement in ever, or did her supervillain dad make her a bit more obedient when she became a cyborg? I think I know where that landed at the end of the series, but I'm not sure she's appeared lately. Still another title to keep an eye out for!

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

Nice callback/reference indeed to Cap#286. I really should find the Avengers Arena trade. It Looked and sounded good, up until I heard they killed off Darkhawk, except they didn't? Idk, but it sounds good, especially this sequel.