Writer: Tom DeFalco
Artists: Pat Oliffe(p), Scott Koblish(finished art), Digital Rainbow's Rob Bo(c)
We revisit the M2 Universe in Last Hero Standing. I have been cut off from this particular continuity for awhile since Spider-Girl's colorist Christie Scheele left, but that was really my only issue against the title: the coloring that made me nauseous. So I was only too happy to try out this underhyped mini-series which serves as M2's Contest of Champions.
Various characters from the continuity disappear. These characters however do not vanish ala' Beyonder. Instead, they have been pulled underground ala' Lost, and leave a clear trail for the other heroes to follow. In one fell swoop DeFalco hints at the answers to the questions why and how.
DeFalco's characterization skills have not diminished an iota. The plethora of cast members all have distinctive personalities, and if those personalities are based upon previous work by other authors, then the characterization matches the history the character had. For instance, DeFalco's Captain America sounds like the old soldier leading a new generation of Avengers. The reflective moments while recalling Daredevil actually work better for this hero. We know how long Captain America has been around, and we know that this older model is slowing down.
M2 is essentially the earth-two of Marvel comics. In this continuity, the heroes have grown and have had children to carry on their legacy. Other changes however can be seen. Wanda for instance has not gone out-of-character stark raving mad, and DeFalco creates a much more fitting end or perhaps beginning for her character which affects the will of Tony Stark and why he no longer dons the armor to become Iron Man.
Best of all Last Hero Standing keeps the mystery villain a puzzle for the readers to solve. Such is the ungimmicky strength of the writing and artwork that I really do want to know who's behind the abductions and why they are being carried out.
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