Characters Appearing: Achilles, Analisa Medina, Coldfire, Dakota North, Daryl 'Troop' Andrews, Delphi, Hardcore, Hulk, Iron Fist, Jeryn Hogarth, Luke Cage, Melva (Cage's friend), Rhino
Issue(s): Cage #9, Cage #10
The Rhino didn't have his costume (but i like how the shadow shows us who he is), which was being transported separately in the convoy. Danson was sent to Chicago with the suit to keep it away from the Rhino, who fought Pascal and then escaped.
Ravello says that it's standard operating procedure for Guardsmen to be suspended pending an investigation after a prisoner escape, although Danson has already been cleared. Ravello wants Cage to capture the Rhino so that he and Pascal can be cleared.
Cage listens to the whole story and then says that he's not actually interested. He needs to go to the funeral for Joshua Anders, Troop's guardian (Troop calls him a brother here) who died last issue. It turns out, though, that Troop doesn't want to see Cage.
I'm hoping that's Cage's regular jacket and he didn't tuck a suit jacket under his metal belt. Cage still looks ridiculous, whatever he's supposed to be wearing. But Troop isn't upset at Cage for being inappropriately dressed for a funeral; he's mad because Anders took a bullet meant for Cage.
We learn that the "friend" that Cage referenced last issue is Melva, a woman that Cage helped during his appearance in the Punisher series.
To get his mind off of Troop's rejection of him, Cage decides to take the Guardsmen's job after all, but he contracts directly with them, not through the Spectator. We see right away that something shady is going on with the Guardsmen.
Cage locates Rhino before Rhino can find his costume, and they get into a fight.
Meanwhile, Danson and another Guardsman go to join the fight, but Pascal uses a device that he got from the Wizard to disable them so that he and Ravello can take their suits, ostensibly so they can be involved in the clearing of their names.
Wizard's technology gets around. We've seen Silver Sable's Wild Pack grunts using his anti-gravity tech in Spectacular Spider-Man, and now this.
They wind up accidentally (?) attacking Cage instead of Rhino.
In the meantime, Rhino gets his costume. He claims that he never killed anyone.
Rhino explains that he was being transported with two other prisoners (not three?). Their names were Cinder and Animator.
Pascal was torturing them. Animator's power was to control electronics, and when he was tortured to his breaking point, he busted the villains' restraints. Cinder killed a Guardsman, and then Pascal beat him to death. Pascal then said he'd pin Cinder's death on Rhino. Another Guardsman rejected the idea, so Pascal killed him too. But Animator caused a final explosion, freeing the Rhino.
Cinder and Animator have never appeared before, and it's a little weird the way two super-villains are (barely) introduced just to kill them off. I wonder if Cinder was meant to be Fusion and Animator was maybe Overrider, but someone decided they didn't want to commit to those villains dying.
Cage accepts Rhino's story but tries to get him to turn himself in and testify against Pascal.
Meanwhile, Ravello (who wasn't in the truck where everything went down), turns against Pascal. Pascal kills Ravello, and says he's going to pin it on Cage.
Cage has already been framed for crimes twice, so he and Rhino go on the run together.
Also taking an interest in all of this is the Hulk, who is alerted to these events thanks to the Pantheon's seer, Delphi.
Somehow, Delphi's rhyming annoys me more than when she does it in Hulk's book.
Delphi predicts that depending on how events go in Chicago, the world will turn in an anti-superhero direction.
Despite Achilles saying that the Hulk has other responsibilities, Hulk goes to Chicago.
I thought it was silly when Cage admonished Rhino for not knowing that he wasn't calling himself Power Man anymore, like villains would really bother to keep up with stuff like that. Turns out the Hulk is at least just as bad, because he thinks to himself that, "Last I heard, Cage was partnered with Iron Fist, in New York". You'd think with all those Pantheon resources at his disposal, he could have at least had someone do a little research for him on his plane ride to Chicago.
And let me be clear, i actually like this. I really hate it when superheroes always seem 100% up to date on the happenings of other heroes, purely for exposition's sake. I think it's much more realistic to have heroes not know every last detail about other characters. Maybe less so for the likes of the Avengers, who are supposed to keep up to date with these things, but for most heroes.
At least the Hulk isn't still calling Cage "fuzzy-hair". Oh wait.
One thing i've noticed is that the merged Hulk is a super jerk in all of his guest appearances. For a guy that was hounded most of his life, you'd think he wouldn't immediately assume the worst about someone else.
Cage gets away from the Hulk, but runs into Pascal. Hulk then shows up again and helps stop Pascal. Cage realizes he needs to take the advice he gave to Rhino and stop running. Cage is cleared off panel, and then Cage approaches Rhino saying that he's cleared too. But Rhino would still have to serve his original time, so he tries to escape, and Cage and Hulk stop him rather quickly.
Also in these issues, Iron Fist goes to Chicago to see Cage for the first time since his "death".
He only gets as far as approaching Jeryn Hogarth in these issues.
And Dakota North continues to keep tabs on Cage's brother, James Lucas Jr. North approaches Lucas, but Lucas is snagged by Hardcore, or is it "Hardcare"?
Nobody cares as hard as Hardcare.
I thought this was decent. It's not well written. As i said, i don't think McLarin gets the merged Hulk at all, but it may be that i feel that way about everyone except Peter David. I think the idea of Cage and the Rhino on the run together wasn't explored well. That was potentially an opportunity for some good character moments or fun scenes but not much is done with it. And i'd like to have seen better fights with the Rhino, with and without the Hulk. Dwayne Turner's art on #10 is better than Rurik Tyler's on #9, but i found myself wishing that Ron Wilson was drawing this story; someone that can do fights between big bulky characters really well.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Iron Fist thinks to himself that "My recovery is nearly complete" and that this is the first chance he's had to connect with Luke. That suggests that this occurs before his appearance in Namor #26-33 although it's vague enough that it could be interpreted differently if necessary. The Hulk doesn't seem to be leading the Pantheon here, and he doesn't know why he makes Delphi nervous, suggesting that this take place before Hulk #396-401, although again there's nothing definitive. This arc also begins with a funeral from Joshua Anders and while Micky Hamilton is still in the hospital. All of this suggests that this story should be pushed back to take place not too long after the previous Cage arc (way before publication date), and since Iron Fist is in Chicago during this story, the next arc should begin not long after this.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Why would he only put on the top half of a suit? lol
Posted by: Red Comet | May 10, 2016 2:27 AM
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