It's time for the final review of the night. I was close to reading Adventure Comics #1, JLA: Justice #2 or Cap: Reborn #2, but instead I've decided to go with the concluding chapter of the War of Kings saga. I mainly based this decision on how badly I want to see Black Bolt and Vulcan tear into each other. I really hope Vulcan takes that pompous Black Bolt apart! This final issue of the War of Kings mini-series is written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, with Paul Pelletier providing the pencils.
-Most of the beginning portion of this comic was exactly what I'd been anticipating, a knock down, drag out, ugly brawl between the most powerful Inhuman, King Black Bolt and possibly the most powerful mutant of all, King Vulcan.
-While the monarchs of the Shi'ar and Kree empires battled each other on the flying T-bomb Black Bolt's brother Maximus created to end the Shi'ar-Kree war, Medusa decided that no one would stop Black Bolt from carrying out his plan to detonate the T-bomb, even though it meant Black Bolt himself would die. For those who don't know, the T-bomb was designed to bathe the entire Shi'ar empire in Terrigen radiation, transforming the Shi'ar into Inhumans and(as Black Bolt hoped)ending hostilities between the two races, since they would all be Inhumans. Medusa's sister, Crystal, refuses to allow Black Bolt to make such a drastic move and along with her erstwhile pet, the teleporting Lockjaw, she heads to the T-bomb to stop Black Bolt from playing god.
-While those events were transpiring, the Shi'ar throneworld, Chandilar was practically in ruins as result of Vulcan's insane war with the Kree, as well as a civil war that began with the death of former Shi'ar empress, Lilandra. Gladiator, having murdered all who took part in the assassination of Lilandra, takes the Imperial Specter from the destroyed Imperial Palace and wanders outside. Upon seeing Gladiator with the Specter, the Shi'ar beg him to help them as their planet burns all around them.
-Back on the T-bomb, Vulcan beats Black Bolt into a bloody mess on the floor and tells the fallen king of the Inhumans that he has lost. Black Bolt responds by screaming "No" at Vulcan, at point blank range, incinerating the insane mutant.
-At that moment, Crystal and Lockjaw teleport onto the T-bomb and Crystal uses her elemental powers to render the Terrigen Crystals aboard the bomb inert, ending Black Bolts dream of uniting the Shi'ar and the Kree as Inhumans. However, the bomb is still set to go off, so Crystal asks Black Bolt to leave with her, while the bomb harmlessly explodes in the empty space between the Shi'ar and Kree empires.
-However, before Black Bolt can leave with Crystal and Lockjaw, Vulcan attacks(!!!), knocking Black Bolt away from Lockjaw's teleportational portal. As Crystal and Lockjaw leave, Vulcan tells Black Bolt that after he's dead, he plans on flying the T-bomb right into Attilan and killing Black Bolt's entire family. Faced with that threat and with his own strength beginning to fail him, Black Bolt screams one final time, utterly destroying the T-bomb, 87% of the Shi'ar Imperial Fleet and tearing a massive hole in the fabric of time and space itself.
-Needless to say, with the overwhelming majority of their spacecraft destroyed, the Shi'ar contact the Inhumans and surrender unconditionally. Crystal and Lockjaw return to Attilan and break the news that Black Bolt has apparently died in his attempt to finally put an end to the madness of Vulcan. This issue ends with the Inhumans triumphant over the Shi'ar empire, but mourning the loss of their king.
Hmph... After reading this issue I feel... I don't know, kind of empty. That's not to say the story and the artwork wasn't good, because it was, but the resolution of the war just left me feeling apathetic. But then again, going into this series I knew the outcome wasn't going to leave me happy. I hate the Inhumans, but I like the Kree. On the other hand, I love Vulcan, but I can't stand the Shi'ar. So you can see that however this mini-series ended, my side was bound to lose. I do think that a feeling of emptiness may have been exactly what Dan and Andy were going for though. You know, that feeling that even though the Inhumans "won" they may have lost more then they gained in the end.
The battle between Black Bolt and Vulcan, which was the selling point for this issue, also left me feeling conflicted. I can't help but feel that Vulcan should have been able to take a weakened Black Bolt... While Black Bolt was afraid of really cutting lose while fighting Vulcan out of fear he'd damage the T-bomb, Vulcan fought with no such concerns. Black Bolt's defensive battle strategy, coupled with the fact that Vulcan's mutant power is the ability to absorb and re-channel any energy, including Black Bolt's vaunted voice, really tells me that Vulcan shouldn't have lost here... *Sigh* I guess those are just the nit-picky complaints of an unhappy Vulcan fan... I did have to laugh at Vulcan's horror movie-esque final lunge at Black Bolt. It was like every bad horror flick you've ever seen, where the insane psycho killer is thought to be dead, but all of a sudden jumps out of the shadows and renews his attack. Ah Vulcan, at least you fought to the end.
I will say that I am glad the Kree are on the victorious side of the battle against the Shi'ar. It was nice to see the Kree avenge the catastrophic loss they suffered at the hands of the Shi'ar during "Operation: Galactic Storm". However, if Gladiator winds up as the new Emperor of the Shi'ar I'm going to be pissed. He's a bodyguard, NOT a monarch! For a score, I'll give this issue an 8 out of 10. Although this issue didn't dazzle me like the previous two issues did, overall I'd have no problem recommending this mini-series to a Marvel Comics space connoisseur like myself.Ah Vulcan, insane right until the end... Rest in peace you crazy bastard!