Writers: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. Pencils: Paul Pelletier.
What Happened: The new Chancellor Araki tries to convince Gladiator to take control of the shattered Shi'ar empire, but Gladiator refuses, reasoning that he serves at the digression of the throne, he is not the throne. The Inhumans arrive on the Shi'ar homeworld to proceed with their takeover of the empire, with the assumption being that Crystal will become the very reluctant Queen/Majestrix of the Shi'ar. Gladiator, the Shi'ar and the Inhumans hold a state funeral for former Majestrix, Lilandra, during which the Imperial Guard arrive and demand the Inhumans to leave the Shi'ar homeworld, proclaiming that with no proof of Vulcan's death, the Shi'ar surrender was illegal. Medusa snaps and attacks the Guard, which prompts the Inhumans to jump in to defend their Queen. After some tussling, Gladiator slams his fist into the ground, knocking the battling parties over, demanding they show respect for the deceased Lilandra. Crystal realizes Gladiator is the only man capable of holding the Shi'ar empire together, so she hands him the royal scepter, thus making Gladiator the Majestor of the Shi'ar. Araki heads away from the scene and transforms into Talon, who was responsible for Lilandra's death, and seems content with the fact that Gladiator is the placeholder ruler. This issue ends with the Magus watching these events play out from afar, happy with the knowledge that in the end, he'll be the one ruling over all.
What I thought: Going into this comic I was desperately hoping Gladiator wasn't going to become the Majestor of the Shi'ar, but this issue was so well written that I didn't mind when Gladiator finally embraced his destiny. I still hate the Inhumans, there's nothing that can change that. Sorry, but a space-faring monarchy just annoys the hell out of me... If the Inhumans are so advanced, why would they continue such an antiquated form of government? The ending set the right tone, with Talon and the Magus being set-up as the duel threats down the road.
Score: 8 out of 10.Note to self: NEVER piss Gladiator off!