Mys-Tech Wars #1
Issue(s): Mys-Tech Wars #1
But, as a promo blurb for this crossover notes, while Mys-Tech has been a major factor for the Marvel UK characters, the larger Marvel universe has been mostly unaware of them, except for those characters that have been involved in guest appearances (which is admittedly a lot of them). So this series is sort of about making Mys-Tech a Marvel universe level threat instead of just a threat to the Marvel UK subset of books. The fact that this crossover ends with the cosmic reset button getting hit kind of makes that last point moot, but in the short term we have a lot of characters involved: every Marvel UK character plus a number of Marvel super-heroes equivalent to something from the Infinity crossovers. It really comes down to being too many characters to manage effectively, and this is the sort of crossover where there's a core book plus tie-ins (all of the regular Marvel UK books), and instead of being a part X of Y kind of crossover, the tie-ins mostly expand on scenes from the core issues (which is actually a generous way of putting it, but more on that in the issues for those entries). So the tie-ins don't really provide extra space to focus more on subsets of the multitude of heroes present.
That said, it's still fun to see everyone getting together to deal with the corporation that has been all over the Marvel UK books.
Artwise, the series is by Bryan Hitch, and he's still got a very Alan Davis influenced style like we saw on She-Hulk. It's a little rougher looking than on his She-Hulk run, i guess in part due to the inks and in part due to the number of characters Hitch has to handle, and unfortunately the art really starts to degrade as the series goes on. It's pretty good looking in this issue, though.
We start with Nick Fury getting shot by Algernon Crowe and put in the Da Vinci Cube, as we already saw if we picked up the first part of this crossover in the Motormouth and Killpower book. The sequence is slightly different than what we saw in Motormouth and Killpower, which is something that will be the case throughout this crossover when the tie-ins repeat scenes from the core series.
Dialogue is somewhat different, characters that appeared in the same room in Motormouth appear on monitor screens in this issue, things like that. Discrepancies like that have been around since at least Secret Wars II, but it's more jarring here, like the coordination between creative teams was not very tight. And i find that all the more surprising since it's a smaller group of books all being coordinated out of the UK office.
In any event, Fury is captured and tortured. This may prompt the "Why don't they just kill him?" sorts of questions, but as we'll see, this not a case where Fury manages to escape and thwart Mys-Tech's plans. He will indeed be tortured to death. So for once, the villains' decision to put their hero captive in a slow moving death trap device turns out to not be a flaw. You can do these sort of things when the plot is going to hit a reset button in the end.
Mys-Tech's actual plan involves activating their Un-Earth Project. We've already seen that Un-Earth is a giant virtual recreation of the Earth, and, like a voodoo doll, what is done to Un-Earth will affect the real Earth, thus allowing Mys-Tech to control the world. That's notable in how banal it is, in the sense that Mys-Tech actually have a relatively complex motivation. Centuries ago, they made a deal with Mephisto for immortality, and nowadays they are trying to get out of that contract while retaining their immortality. Nothing about the Un-Earth Project relates directly to that. You can infer that controlling the Earth will help them, either in gaining more power to deal with Mephisto or in being able to more efficiently provide Mephisto with souls per their agreement with him in the interim, but in terms of their actual stated motivations for this series, it's a pretty generic bad guy plot.
While Mys-Tech are activating that, Dark Angel is with the X-Men, telling them about Mys-Tech.
Wolverine steps away to check his messages, and gets the message from Nick Fury that Fury mentioned in the Motormouth issue. Captain America has received the same message. Both have been told that Fury is in London to check out Mys-Tech, and that they should investigate if they don't hear from him in a week. But Mys-Tech activate Un-Earth, getting the attention of Dr. Strange...
...and the rest of the Avengers.
Other groups start to notice, too, for different reasons.
Mys-Tech were ready for super-heroes to notice, and they have a contingency ready for that, which involves sending big demons to attack the X-Men and the Avengers (with other heroes including Dr. Strange, the FF, and the Hulk having gathered with the Avengers).
The Warheads, meanwhile, try to figure out what their bosses are up to. They are held back by some Psycho-Warriors, and as we'll see, whatever their suspicions are it won't stop them from accepting an assignment from Mys-Tech after this issue.
A side-effect of the activation of Un-Earth is that Death Head II's teleportation to Lionheart is interrupted. He actually winds up on Un-Earth (or is it UnEarth?) instead.
This issue follows a pretty standard formula for the beginning of big events with lots of heroes, but it's a decent set-up.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Dark Angel and the X-Men's appearance in this book actually occurs about midway through Dark Angel #10. Dark Angel #9 ended on an unrelated (although also Mys-Tech instigated) cliffhanger, and Dark Angel and the X-Men have to deal with that before they can be available for their appearance here. The rest of Dark Angel #10 then picks up on what we see of Dark Angel and the X-Men in this issue, so i'm placing it after this.
Regarding the overall placement of this crossover, see the Considerations on Motormouth and Killpower #9. One thing i'll note here is that Hercules appears in a single panel in this entire crossover, and a word balloon covers his entire face, so we don't have to worry about whether or not he has a beard.
Speaking of beards, Thor's looks like it was drawn on at the last minute in most of his appearances, but at least it's (usually) there. I almost feel like Hulk's comment about not being at Avengers Mansion in ages should be taken as sarcasm.
Crossover: Mys-Tech Wars
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showAlbion, Algernon Crowe, Angel, Beast, Bishop, Black Knight (Dane Whitman), Black Widow, Brendan Rathcoole, Bronwen Gryfnn, Captain America, Clementine, Colossus, Cyclops, Dark Angel, Death's Head II (Minion), Dr. Strange, Eadmund Porlock, Gambit, Green Knight, Gudrun Tyburn, Havok, Hercules, Hulk, Human Torch, Iceman, Invisible Woman, Jean Grey, Leona McBride, Madrox the Multiple Man, Master Key, Misha (Warheads), Mr. Fantastic, Nick Fury, Ormond Wychwood, Polaris, Professor X, Quicksilver, Rogue, Sersi, She-Hulk, Stacy Arnheim, Storm, Strong Guy, Thing, Thunderstrike, Tigon Liger, Union Jack (Joey Chapman), Vision, Wolfsbane, Wolverine
A couple of sources say this story had to be re-tooled shortly before it was due to see print because its original concept was too similar to Infinity War. I assume it would have involved evil duplicates, of the sort we see in Death's Head II's case in his book.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | May 2, 2016 7:32 PM
@Walter Lawson: That's true, Marvel Preview '93 had an article on Mys-Tech and they interviewed one of the architects, who said they were getting ready to do evil duplicates when they found out INFINITY WAR had "dibs" on the idea. (That article did its job; mentions of Un-Earth and immortal villains who could take the world with them got me intrigued enough to by the series)
Posted by: Thanos6 | May 2, 2016 8:15 PM
I've mentioned it before, but I've never liked Mys-Tech Wars. I found it to be Garth Ennis level mean-spirited.
Spider-man getting his heart ripped out by demons is supposed to be "90s cool," but comes off as extremely tryhard. Jean Grey committing suicide is also pretty tasteless despite the alternate reality convergence mumbo jumbo in a caption to try to justify it.
The whole thing feels like it was written by an edgy 10 year old that doesn't understand what actually makes a story mature.
It also doesn't help that it was centered on the lame Marvel UK characters.
Posted by: Red Comet | May 2, 2016 10:31 PM
To what extent were the Marvel UK books available stateside? Because my impression, and fnord seems to acknowledge as such, is that the books loved to incorporate Marvel Universe characters somewhat arbitrarily in an attempt to lend credibility to themselves, but the reverse is not true; I think the closest the American books have come to acknowledging the UK ones so far in this project is a single footnote. This continues in Mys-Tech Wars itself where the only tie-ins are the UK books. If the UK books were their own little world, effectively a "sub-continuity", then no one would have expected Mys-Tech Wars to have any real effect on anyone except the Marvel UK characters, and once "core" Marvel characters start dying it becomes obvious that the series is going to end with a cosmic reset button.
Posted by: Morgan Wick | May 3, 2016 3:42 AM
I bought my first Marvel UK comic off a rack at a video rental store. So i guess they were available not just in comic shops but even in the regular market. But your point about the reciprocity is still true; it was basically a one-way street.
Posted by: fnord12 | May 3, 2016 9:28 AM
I picked up the Mys-Tek Wars issues in my local comic store, so I assumed it was readily available.
Posted by: Bill | May 3, 2016 11:24 AM
This is one of those books I want to like in concept, I do love the Crisis crossover style elements of this and I like when a crossover spins out of something from one book (in this case all of Marvel UK) and expands it to have the whole MU go up against it. Very similar to the Wraith War in Rom. But, this seems very very unsatisfying and mean. I don't think Marvel have ever really gotten the DC Crisis Crossover formula down, those are satisfying because you see all the characters together doing stuff and it's an ensemble cast that is effectively thinly disguised advertisements for every character or books you might be unaware of or be interested in. Here, using characters like Spider-Man and the X-Men, it's just a sales tactic to try and get people interest in the Marvel UK books. Nobody is coming away from this and thinking "The Avengers seem cool, I'd like to read their book on top of all my Marvel UK books I'm already getting".
Plus my token: Where's Quasar? Whenever there's a big event or a gathering of heroes in the early 90s, Quasar should be there instead of absent. Maybe no one wants to include him but it pretty much does a disservice to his set-up as "Protector of the Universe" to consistently have him unaware or oblivious in his absence from big crossovers like this (not as bad as his absence in Infinity Crusade though).
Posted by: AF | March 1, 2018 4:20 AM
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