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War of Kings #2

Posted: Tuesday, March 31, 2009
By: Keith Dallas

Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning
Paul Pelletier (p), Rick Magyar (i), Wil Quintana (colors)
Marvel Comics
Editor's Note: War of Kings #2 arrives in stores tomorrow, April 1.

David Hodum:
Stephen Joyce:
Kurt Lane:




David Hodum:

The Story (from Marvel.com): The cosmic heavyweights come out swinging! Black Bolt! Gladiator! The Inhumans! Vulcan! The Starjammers! As Kree outworlds burn, Shi'ar forces move in for the kill—as first blood goes to Vulcan and the Imperial Guard! Can anything withstand the military juggernaut of Vulcan's Imperium? And are the lines of allegiance drawn as clearly as it first appears? The major players make their big moves as the battle that will reshape the cosmic power structure rages on!

Review: "The War of Kings" continues as Gladiator monitors a planet's destruction from nega-bombs while onboard Emperor Vulcan's flagship. Gladiator is an emotionless soldier, but as Vulcan speaks harshly to Lilandra and threatens her life, we are given yet another possible foreshadowing panel of Gladiator with a look of doubt. More clues are seeded here, as seen below in the preview pages. Gladiator still refers to Lilandra as "Empress" which leads me to believe that as a soldier loyal to the throne, he might start deciding who would best serve the Shi'ar on that throne, and he seems to be tiring of Vulcan's antics. Maybe it's just me seeing what I want to see.

The Kree masses are none too pleased with the trouble the Inhumans have brought upon them, but Crystal becomes popular with the Kree as she attends to their problems after visiting a very badly damaged Ronan. If the "War of Kings" ends with the Inhumans returning to Earth's moon, is it possible Crystal and the Accuser stay to rule? Ronan was warming to Crystal before he overheard her remarks about the wedding being purely political. It is possible from this moment onward Crystal starts becoming fond of the Kree people and when Ronan returns to the woman he remembers at his infirmary bedside, he finds someone his people adore. It's like a fairy tale!

The preview pages below do not show Maximus and the Inhuman's response to the Shi'ar aggression, but I found it quite satisfying. Blackbolt is a king, and his authority and power has just been challenged, so when he doles out an appropriate response... let's just say Vulcan isn't anymore of a pleasure to be around than he normally is. After the end of this issue I would think this would be curtains for Lilandra, but there are just too many stars lining up for one last showdown between Vulcan and the Starjammers and possibly even Gladiator to decide her fate.

Final Word: Abnett and Lanning keep setting 'em up, and Pelletier and company keep knocking 'em down. "War of Kings" is an epic tale that will be referenced for years to come, and if you think it's getting hairy now, wait until the Nova Corps tries to break up the party...




Stephen Joyce:

I've been enjoying "War of Kings" more than I expected I would. The premise of Vulcan and Black Bolt both ruling over alien races and now battling for control of the universe is actually a very intriguing and curious idea. Last issue we got to see what fueled the start of this war, and now we are seeing the beginning of the battle plans in this issue. I also enjoyed the look at how the Kree people have taken to the Inhumans. I thought it was weird that the Kree would just let them take control of their empire. Here we get to see that things aren't as cut and dry as that and that the Kree have their suspicions.

For me the flow of this issue worked very well. The atmosphere was very much what you would expect to see after the first attack in a major war. Everybody was regrouping and coming up with the next course of action. There were some really good character moments in this issue. Crystal really was shown in a new light to me. I don't have too much experience with this character, but I feel that she is shown to be a true leader with the way she acted and interacted with the Kree people. Vulcan has become one of my favorite villains in the Marvel Universe. A lot of people would look at his characterization as being arrogant, but I view him as being extremely confident. I view him this way because he knows he has the power to do what he wants and for the most part has done most of what he set out to do. That's just my view on the character. He is perfectly characterized in this issue. True, he has his temper, but that is part of the character. What crazy mad man doesn’t have a temper?

Looking at the art I can say that every character is done beautifully. Paul Pelletier's art work is just great. I really enjoy his Black Bolt. The character comes off as a strong figure and has a regal aspect to him, and that is exactly how Black Bolt should be shown. I notice a lot of artists seem to draw Black Bolt as being angry all the time, but here he really has that kingly look that he should have.

"War of Kings" has been shaping up to be much better than I had expected from the idea. Abnett and Lanning have crafted a story that could possibly be one of the best books to be released this year. These first two issues have been awesome. This is coming from a guy who doesn't follow Marvel's cosmic side.




Kurt Lane:

After a great first issue of War of Kings, I was anxiously waiting for the follow up with the assumption that the pacing of this issue would be moderately slow, due to the building up of a great war and the exploration of the rocky relationship between the Kree and the Inhumans. Instead it seems that both plot points were almost summed up, feeling like they were almost coming to an end.

Crystal aiding the Kree at their most desperate, thereby building a bridge between both Kree and Inhuman, was a great touch but felt almost forced and brought on too quickly. Like I just said, it seemed like it was wrapping things up to an end. There might be some jealousy issues coming forth between both Crystal and Medusa in the near future, but I'm worried that it might be lost in a bigger scheme of intergalactic war and planetary destruction. Sometimes in big stories like this, the small points and plot details that get noticed in one book are totally forgotten in the next book.

The meeting of the Inhumans was a very interesting part of the issue for me. I enjoyed how, even in other cultures away from our own, they weighed the pros and cons of full scale aggression versus nation building. I know some people hate when they bring real world flavor into comic books, claiming it takes some of the escapism out of the material, but I enjoy it because it makes it more relatable and there still is a great amount of escapism in comics. I've never seen an eight foot tall green monster destroying Times Square, and I've yet to hear of the costumed alien that saves the day, 24/7.

One thing I didn't quite understand was the whole recapping of Havok, a key player in this story. You would think that by the second issue, we would already know who he was and certain details on what was happening. If any reader needed recapping this early in the plot, I don't know if he would even bother with the title to begin with. It reads like filler and it could have been easily done without.

Final Word: Still a solid storyline, though I'm wondering where it's going now. The war seems on the upturn, Crystal has seemingly won over the Kree and Gladiator's turn is looking eminent. I'm hoping for the best, but knowing Marvel's recent storylines, I'm bracing for the worst.






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